If you're a caregiver for a loved one, it's essential to budget for unexpected medical costs by creating a spending plan that includes anticipated and unanticipated expenses.
Possible caregiving expenses
This list gives you an idea of the financial challenges you might need to address:
the resources available to caregivers through Military OneSource. You are not alone.
- Medications, equipment and co-pays - Medications, medical adaptive equipment and co-pays for doctor visits can add up quickly. Though co-pays might not seem like much for each visit, they can put a dent in your wallet if you're visiting many doctors and specialists.
- Home modification costs - You may need to make home modifications to make it suitable for your loved one. Ramps to entrances, wider doorframes and grab bars in bathrooms can help you and your loved one navigate around your home.
- Caregiving services (respite, day services) - If you work, you may have to find services for your loved one while you're away, or you may just need a break for your emotional well-being from time to time.
- Travel and transportation fees - If your loved one is in a wheelchair or requires transportation via stretcher, travel to each appointment or outing could incur additional costs if you need to hire a service.
- Reduced work hours, reduced pay or loss of job for the caregiver - Your caregiving responsibilities may mean you have less time for your own work or career. You might need to reduce your hours or take a leave of absence for a while.
Financial resources for caregivers
Once you have a better sense of the costs you might incur, you can develop a spending plan that includes anticipated and unanticipated expenses. There are benefits and resources available to help you take some of the financial stress out of caregiving.
- TRICARE home health benefits - Your loved one may be eligible to receive home health care benefits if he or she has TRICARE. The program has information to help you determine the benefits for which your loved one may be eligible.
- Medicare and Medicaid programs - If your loved one meets eligibility requirements for Medicare or Medicaid, coverage may be available for medical costs, transportation, respite care, home modifications and equipment expenses.
- Financial counseling services - If you live on or near your military installation, you can reach out to the installation personal financial management program. A financial counselor can sit down with you and help develop a spending plan that works for you. The program also offers workshops and classes that might be helpful. If you're not located near an installation, you can also access financial counseling services through Military OneSource by calling 800-342-9647. You can also contact the Military and Family Life Counseling program at your Military and Family Support Center. These services are free for service members and their families.
- Military relief societies - Each service has a private, nonprofit organization that assists families in times of need. Assistance may include emergency transportation; help with medical bills, child care expenses, food, rent, utilities and other household bills; vehicle repair; and family emergency assistance. For more information on relief societies, please contact the Army Emergency Relief, the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society or the Air Force Aid Society.
Additional resources for caregivers
Department of Defense support to military caregivers includes Personalized Experiences, Engagement and Resources, or PEER forums, webinars, caregiver-related events and specialized resources.
Take advantage of the resources available to you. If you need support while managing your role as caregiver, reach out for help. You can access non-medical counseling services through Military OneSource or through the Military and Family Life Counseling program.