AlzU Blog

The Financial Downside of Family Caregiving

If you are a family caregiver, you may already know what a rewarding role you have taken on in caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), but along with the rewards, many challenges are involved in full time caregiving.  One such trial for many family caregivers involves financial sacrifice.

You may be contributing directly to the medical expenses involved in a disease as severe as AD, but you may also be giving up hours of your time that would otherwise be spent working and earning an income.  Lost wages may involve cutting back on hours, turning down promotions, taking unpaid leave time or perhaps leaving the workforce altogether. 

Other expenses may include gas money for driving your loved one to medical appointments, money for meals, co-payments for medications and expenses for respite care such as adult day centers or private home care professionals-which may not be covered by insurance. 

The financial sacrifices may continue long after caregiving is no longer required.  Many family caregivers realize that lost wages result in fewer Social Security benefits as well as taking a toll on retirement accounts and other benefits. In fact, according to the 2011 Health and Retirement Study, male caregivers who cut hours to make more time for caregiving ended up losing nearly $38K in Social Security benefits.  The study showed that women who cut back on working hours realized nearly $64K in lost Social Security benefits.

The Social Security Caregiver Credit Act was passed to help offset losses caregivers incur from lost work hours and pay as a direct result of caregiving.  This bill offers some financial reprieve to family caregivers so they can focus on providing care to their loved ones without the added financial stressors.

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