The Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Family and Caregiver Support Program, also referred to as AFCSP, offers assistance to low and middle income families throughout the state that have a family member who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or another related memory disorder. The program services both dementia patients and the family members who are caring for them. Family caregivers receive short-term breaks from caregiving duties through respite care programs and adult day care, while dementia care patients receive the level of care and support needed to safely remain at home.
Certain county and tribal areas do allow for consumer direction of respite care services. Friends and family, with the exception of the primary caregiver, may be able to receive a lower, non-professional stipend to provide care. The stipend received varies by location within the state. The areas within Wisconsin that do not allow for consumer direction only contract with licensed in-home care agencies.
The Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Family and Caregiver Support Program is under the management of the Wisconsin Bureau of Aging and Disability Resources and is administered locally by each county’s Office of Aging. Unlike a Medicaid program, individuals do not have to spend nearly all of their personal savings before receiving benefits.
AFCSP has financial, functional, and residential requirements.
First and foremost, the family must have a written diagnosis from a doctor that indicates the individual has Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other related memory disorder. Of course, the individual with Alzheimer’s must live in Wisconsin and must live at home or in the home of a caregiver or family member. Persons cannot receive assistance if they currently reside in an assisted living facility, adult family home, nursing home, or memory care community.
As of 2023, a family’s household countable income cannot exceed $48,000. (This figure has remained the same the past few of years). However, any care costs a family incurs that are related to caring for the individual with Alzheimer’s can be excluded from their income.
For example, if a family has an annual income of $60,000 and they spend $2,000 a month on home care, then $24,000 (2,000 x 12) a year would be considered non-countable income. They would deduct this amount from their total income, giving them an effective annual income of $36,000, which would make them eligible for the program.
Those who are able to help contribute to the cost of services are asked to do so.
Although AFCSP has an income limit of $48,000, any and all care related expenses are not counted as income.
Wisconsin residents who exceed these income limits but still cannot afford their care costs still might qualify for this program by working with a Medicaid planning professional. They are trained to assist applicants who find themselves in this very situation and are well versed in reallocating income so that it isn’t counted toward the limits. For instance, extra income can be deposited into a Miller Trust, also referred to as a Qualified Income Trust.
The specific benefits of AFCSP are determined by the county, as are the specific needs of the applicant and their caregivers. Typically, the program pays, at least in part, for the services listed below. Annual per person spending is capped at $4,000. However, depending on the area of Wisconsin, the maximum annual benefit can be as low as $500 – $2,500.
The Alzheimer’s Family & Caregiver Support Program is open to residents statewide. For more information or to apply, one should contact their county Office of Aging or their regional Aging and Disability Resource Center (County and Tribal Aging Offices). Families can call the Wisconsin Bureau of Aging and Disability Resources at 608-266-2536 and be connected to their regional center.
Additional information about the program can be found here.