Search Articles

Find Attorneys

Honoring Family Caregivers Month: Resources for Grandparent Caregivers

  • November 15th, 2022

Grandmother holding a newborn baby child near little bedNovember marks National Family Caregivers Month. Today, roughly 3 million children reside with grandparents who have committed to being their primary caregivers, according to Pew Research Center estimates.

Grandparents may step in when the child’s parents can no longer take care of the child, when the parents pass away, or when a court takes away their parental rights. Without grandparents assuming responsibility, the state might have placed these children with foster families who are not related to the children. When grandparents become the guardians of their grandchildren, children can preserve familial ties, remaining connected to their biological families.

Local Elder Law Attorneys in Your City

Elder Law Attorney

Firm Name
City, State

Elder Law Attorney

Firm Name
City, State

Elder Law Attorney

Firm Name
City, State

Although caring for a grandchild is rewarding, it can also be challenging, particularly when it comes to finances. Grandparents who are retirees with a decreased income may face the challenge of balancing their grandchildren’s needs, such as clothing, with their own needs, such as medical care. They might even feel they must use their retirement savings to provide for their grandchildren. However, state and federal benefits programs, as well as other resources, are available to help “grandfamilies” facing financial difficulties.

Financial Resources

Several tools are available to support grandparent caregivers with monetary hardships associated with caregiving.

  • BenefitsCheckUp — The National Council on Aging’s online resource, BenefitsCheckUp, can help older adults identify federal and state assistance programs for which they are qualified.

    Starting with their ZIP codes, users can enter personal information into the tool, and BenefitsCheckUp keeps the information they disclose private. After entering details, the resource generates a personalized Eligibility Results report, which reveals the benefits programs for which they can apply. The tool also identifies areas where program administrators might need more information to determine eligibility. The report can give older adults clarity about which programs they could apply for successfully as well as which programs fit their needs.
     
  • TANF — The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program provides funding that states put toward financial assistance for low-income families for necessities such as food, shelter, and clothing. The TANF program varies by state.

    In some states, childcare assistance is available in addition to financial support. To qualify for TANF, older adults must have minor children, be unemployed or underemployed, and have a low income. (TANF is also available to those who are pregnant and minors who are the head of their households.)
     
  • InsureKidsNow.gov — As an online resource for families, InsureKidsNow.gov offers information about getting children low-cost or free health care. Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) give free or inexpensive health care to minor children whose families meet state financial eligibility requirements.

    As a grandparent caregiver, you can use InsureKidsNow.gov to explore health insurance options for your grandchildren, including mental and behavioral health and dental care. The Dentist Locator, for instance, can help you find a local dentist who accepts Medicaid and CHIP. The website also has vaccination outreach resources.

Legal Support

In addition to financial constraints, caring for a grandchild can raise other concerns. Grandparents who are primary caregivers may have anxieties about their legal rights, especially when children are involved in the foster care system. Caregivers might also have particular questions and worries if a child has a disability or is diagnosed with a severe illness.

  • Grandfamilies.org — An online information center, Grandfamilies.org supports families where grandparents are the main caregivers, providing facts about state and federal laws. The website has a searchable database of the regulations impacting “grandfamilies” — families with grandparents as immediate caregivers.

    The directory covers all states and includes information about children who are part of the foster care system. Grandfamilies.org’s Law and Policy Center offers information to help you understand and navigate the legal system. The website’s publications and topic library contain information about issues affecting families where grandparents are responsible for children, such as adoption and kinship foster care.
     
  • Caregiver Action Network As a digital library and chat center, Caregiver Action Network supplies information about caregiving and helps individuals connect with others facing similar situations.

    When you sign up for the Care Chat feature, you can communicate with other caregivers online, asking questions and posting messages and responses. The resource includes information about caring for children with disabilities and illnesses such as cancer. As part of its toolbox for caregivers, Caregiver Action Network also has a directory of financial and legal resources. You can also ask the Caregiver Help Desk questions and receive personalized responses.

This Thanksgiving season, if you are a grandparent who serves as a caregiver for a minor, or know someone who is a part of a “grandfamily,” consider connecting with your elder law attorney to learn more about resources available to you.


Last Modified: 11/15/2022
Learn the secrets of estate planning from an expert
ADVERTISEMENT
Medicaid 101
What Medicaid Covers

In addition to nursing home care, Medicaid may cover home care and some care in an assisted living facility. Coverage in your state may depend on waivers of federal rules.

READ MORE
How to Qualify for Medicaid

To be eligible for Medicaid long-term care, recipients must have limited incomes and no more than $2,000 (in most states). Special rules apply for the home and other assets.

READ MORE
Medicaid’s Protections for Spouses

Spouses of Medicaid nursing home residents have special protections to keep them from becoming impoverished.

READ MORE
What Medicaid Covers

In addition to nursing home care, Medicaid may cover home care and some care in an assisted living facility. Coverage in your state may depend on waivers of federal rules.

READ MORE
How to Qualify for Medicaid

To be eligible for Medicaid long-term care, recipients must have limited incomes and no more than $2,000 (in most states). Special rules apply for the home and other assets.

READ MORE
Medicaid’s Protections for Spouses

Spouses of Medicaid nursing home residents have special protections to keep them from becoming impoverished.

READ MORE
Medicaid Planning Strategies

Careful planning for potentially devastating long-term care costs can help protect your estate, whether for your spouse or for your children.

READ MORE
Estate Recovery: Can Medicaid Take My House After I’m Gone?

If steps aren't taken to protect the Medicaid recipient's house from the state’s attempts to recover benefits paid, the house may need to be sold.

READ MORE
Help Qualifying and Paying for Medicaid, Or Avoiding Nursing Home Care

There are ways to handle excess income or assets and still qualify for Medicaid long-term care, and programs that deliver care at home rather than in a nursing home.

READ MORE
Are Adult Children Responsible for Their Parents’ Care?

Most states have laws on the books making adult children responsible if their parents can't afford to take care of themselves.

READ MORE
Applying for Medicaid

Applying for Medicaid is a highly technical and complex process, and bad advice can actually make it more difficult to qualify for benefits.

READ MORE
Alternatives to Medicaid

Medicare's coverage of nursing home care is quite limited. For those who can afford it and who can qualify for coverage, long-term care insurance is the best alternative to Medicaid.

READ MORE
ElderLaw 101
Estate Planning

Distinguish the key concepts in estate planning, including the will, the trust, probate, the power of attorney, and how to avoid estate taxes.

READ MORE
Grandchildren

Learn about grandparents’ visitation rights and how to avoid tax and public benefit issues when making gifts to grandchildren.

READ MORE
Guardianship/Conservatorship

Understand when and how a court appoints a guardian or conservator for an adult who becomes incapacitated, and how to avoid guardianship.

READ MORE
Health Care Decisions

We need to plan for the possibility that we will become unable to make our own medical decisions. This may take the form of a health care proxy, a medical directive, a living will, or a combination of these.

READ MORE
Estate Planning

Distinguish the key concepts in estate planning, including the will, the trust, probate, the power of attorney, and how to avoid estate taxes.

READ MORE
Grandchildren

Learn about grandparents’ visitation rights and how to avoid tax and public benefit issues when making gifts to grandchildren.

READ MORE
Guardianship/Conservatorship

Understand when and how a court appoints a guardian or conservator for an adult who becomes incapacitated, and how to avoid guardianship.

READ MORE
Health Care Decisions

We need to plan for the possibility that we will become unable to make our own medical decisions. This may take the form of a health care proxy, a medical directive, a living will, or a combination of these.

READ MORE
Long-Term Care Insurance

Understand the ins and outs of insurance to cover the high cost of nursing home care, including when to buy it, how much to buy, and which spouse should get the coverage.

READ MORE
Medicare

Learn who qualifies for Medicare, what the program covers, all about Medicare Advantage, and how to supplement Medicare’s coverage.

READ MORE
Retirement Planning

We explain the five phases of retirement planning, the difference between a 401(k) and an IRA, types of investments, asset diversification, the required minimum distribution rules, and more.

READ MORE
Senior Living

Find out how to choose a nursing home or assisted living facility, when to fight a discharge, the rights of nursing home residents, all about reverse mortgages, and more.

READ MORE
Social Security

Get a solid grounding in Social Security, including who is eligible, how to apply, spousal benefits, the taxation of benefits, how work affects payments, and SSDI and SSI.

READ MORE
Special Needs Planning

Learn how a special needs trust can preserve assets for a person with disabilities without jeopardizing Medicaid and SSI, and how to plan for when caregivers are gone.

READ MORE
Veterans Benefits

Explore benefits for older veterans, including the VA’s disability pension benefit, aid and attendance, and long-term care coverage for veterans and surviving spouses.

READ MORE