In the state of New Jersey alone there are an estimated 1.75 million individuals fulfilling a caregiver role. Most of them are doing so unpaid. Whether taking care of a family member or friend, it is a difficult, stressful, and exhausting duty and tasks can include basic needs such as assistance with dressing, cooking, or running errands. In situations involving special needs patients, a caregiver may operate necessary medical equipment, dress wounds, or monitor and manage prescription medication– often, with no training.
While changes in Medicaid rules have allowed patients more access to care at home, the need for qualified caregivers continues to grow. On December 17, 2018, the New Jersey Assembly unanimously approved a bill that would create a task force for the purpose of identifying creative solutions to offset financial losses suffered by unpaid caregivers. One such solution is a state tax credit. The goal is to create state resources and support that will alleviate some of the stress that can come from this role. Currently, the bill is awaiting signature from Governor Phil Murphy.
This measure proves how essential long-term care planning is, especially in the case of a disabled or special-needs family member. If preparations are made well in advance of the need for an in-home caregiver, resources can be identified to help make the transition smoother and more comfortable for all involved.
An attorney who specializes in special needs, disability, and long-term care planning can be a tremendous help in the planning of these affairs. By keeping abreast of current legislation, he or she can provide guidance and information on little known resources that will better allow a caregiver to devote undivided attention to your loved one during their time of need.
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