Family matters

Family members play a key role in TN.

1.0M
family members caring for a loved one
830M
hours spent each year
$10.1B
in unpaid care
provided annually
Out of the 6.7M people in Tennessee, there are 990,000 people taking care of loved ones. These family caregivers provide a combined 830M (yes, 830,000,000!) hours of care per year. At TN's average $12.12 hourly wage, this is $10,100,000,000 of care provided unpaid every year. (Source: AARP)
Option 1: veterans

Tennessee's VA pays caregivers for veterans.

Veterans, and the surviving spouses of veterans, have a few options to pay family caregivers.

Veteran Directed Home & Community Based Care in TN

The Veteran Directed Care (VDC) program allows veterans to choose how to direct their monthly care budget. This means that when hiring a caregiver, a veteran can choose to hire his/her family member.

The caregiving family member will be paid the hourly rate determined by the VA, typically $8-$21 per hour.

VDC is available to veterans of all ages enrolled in VA medical benefits and require skilled services and assistance with activities of daily living.

Veteran Aid & Attendance Pension Benefit in TN

If your veteran loved one requires professional long-term in-home, assisted living, or nursing home care, you may be eligible for Aid and Attendance (A&A).

The A&A Pension can provide up to $3,261 per month to pay for care, including to caregiving family members.

A&A is an add-on benefit that requires eligibility for the basic VA pension or survivor pension, as well as meeting a disability requirement.

Housebound Pension Benefit in TN

The Housebound Pension benefit provides funds to veterans who are mostly unable to leave their homes. Similar to the A&A benefit, the Housebound Pension can be used to pay family caregivers.

The Housebound Pension can be worth up to $1,882 per month, and spouses are unable to be paid as the family caregiver under the Housebound benefit, as spouse income is included in the calculation of the benefit.

To qualify for Housebound, a veteran must be limited to his/her house and be eligible for the basic VA pension. Veterans cannot get A&A and Housebound benefits at the same time.

Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC) in TN

The PCAFC is the VA's broadest program targeting family caregivers. The program provides family caregivers with a stipend of up to $2,750 per month, in addition to training, counseling, and respite care.

To qualify, the veteran must have been critically hurt or had a serious illness in the line of duty, and require help with at least one activity of daily living.

Find your local VA in Tennessee...

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Option 2: TAX Credits

Tennessee tax credit for caregiving.

What is a tax credit?

Tax credits are a way for the government to incentivize and compensate taxpayers for positive activities. A variety of tax credits cover a wide range of expenses and situations such as education, green energy, and caregiving.

A tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction of the income tax you owe. For example, if you owe $4,000 in federal taxes but are eligible for a $3,000 tax credit, your tax bill is $1,000.

What tax credits are available for family caregivers?

The Child and Dependent Tax Credit (CDCTC) is a tax credit earned by caregivers for a percentage of care-related expenses. Eligible expenses must be for the care of a child or dependent in order to enable the taxpayer to work or look for work.

How much can I earn in tax credits for caregiving?

The total tax credit you can claim in Tennessee for caregiving is $1,100.

The CDCTC provides a tax credit for a percentage of your eligible caregiving expenses.

The maximum CDCTC at the federal level is $1,100.

Additionally, Tennessee matches the federal tax credit up to , which can equate to an extra off your taxes.

Read more...

How do I get tax credit for caregiving?

To get the CDCTC, you must claim your loved one as your dependent on your tax forms. You loved one must qualify to be claimed as a dependent based on a number of criteria.

After claiming your loved one as a dependent, you will need to fill out tax form 2441. The tax form requires a clear picture of your care-related expenses that allowed you to work or look for work.

How can I automate getting this tax credit?

Instead of manually tracking your care-related expenses and filling out all of the tax forms, you can use the Givers Card to automate everything.
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Option 3: State Support

The Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability supports family caregivers.

How does the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability support family caregivers?

Every state is mandated by the federal government to create support systems for family caregivers.

The Tennessee Caregiver Support Program provides:

  • Counseling and support groups
  • Caregiver training
  • Respite care
  • Personal care
  • Homemaker services
  • Adult daycare

Respite care is the temporary use of a caregiver to give family caregivers a break from their responsibilities. Tennessee's Commission on Aging and Disability provides respite assistance. Contact the Tennessee Respite Coalition (TRC) to find low- or no-cost respite services through a voucher system. TRC also oversees the Senior Companion program. To learn more about the program, call 888-579-3754.


Click here to learn more about the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability...

What is respite care?

Respite care is the temporary use of a caregiver to give family caregivers a break from their responsibilities. Tennessee's Commission on Aging and Disability provides respite assistance. Contact the Tennessee Respite Coalition (TRC) to find low- or no-cost respite services through a voucher system. TRC also oversees the Senior Companion program. To learn more about the program, call 888-579-3754.


Click here to learn more about respite care in TN...

How else does Tennessee support family caregivers?


Click here to learn more...

What is an Area Agency on Aging (AAA)?

An AAA is a local organization dedicated to supporting older adults and their caregiving family members. AAAs can provide resources, training, and community building initiatives in the community.

How do I find my local AAA?

There are 9 AAAs in Tennessee. Click here find your local AAA in TN.

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Option 4: Medicaid

Medicaid pays family caregivers in Tennessee.

What is a Medicaid Waiver?

Medicaid Waivers are legal exceptions to Medicaid rules. There are three type of waivers that allow Medicaid recipients to direct medicaid dollars to caregiving family members rather than a medicaid-approved agency.

What Medicaid Waivers are available in Tennessee?

Freedom of choice: Section 1915(b) Waiver. This waiver allows Tennessee to "carve out" family caregivers as a covered type of specialty care.

Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS): Section 1915(c) Waiver. This waiver allows Tennessee to offer HCBS as an alternative to instutional care such as nursing homes.

Demonstration: Section 1115 Waiver. This waiver allows Tennessee to test, research, and demonstrate if an alternative care model effectively furthers the objectives of Medicaid.

What's the bottom line?

If your loved one is on Medicaid, she/he may be able to direct Medicaid home-care payments to you.

How do I get paid by Medicaid in Tennessee for caregiving?

To get paid by Medicaid in Tennessee for caring for your loved one, you should reach out to your loved one's Medicaid plan and ask about "self-direction of funds" to pay family caregivers.

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Option 5: Other Options

Other ways to get paid

If you are not able to get money through the above options, you can always consider a few alternative options.

Long term care insurance

If your loved one has a long term care insurance policy, that policy may allow for the direction of funds to a family caregiver.

To learn if this is an option for you, contact your loved one's insurance company or agent and ask about caregiver benefits.

Employer-sponsored caregiving leave

A growing number of companies are offering to pay employees while they take a leave to take care of a loved one.

To learn if this is an option for you, talk to the Human Resources department at your company.

Learn more here

Get paid by family

When your family measures all of the potential costs of care, including nursing homes, in-home nurses, and more, they may recognize that your support is a much more cost-effective option. If there are funds available, you should ask to be compensated for your time and efforts, especially when compared to the costs of the alternatives.

If your family does agree to pay you for your caregiving efforts, you should consult with an attorney to arrange a contract that details your work and wage. This step will create documentation that may be important in the future for reimbursement from Medicaid, health insurance, or assisted living in the future.
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