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Caregiver Resources


Employees often are faced with addressing the need to care for an adult individual. If you are a state employee who provides care, it is important to learn where you can turn to for support and what benefits and resources are available to you. As an employer, the State of Ohio is committed to providing the support you need as you balance your role as a caregiver with your role in the workplace. 

About Being a Caregiver

About Being a Caregiver

Who is a Caregiver?
Sometimes it can be hard to recognize yourself as a caregiver, but many employees will find themselves in this role. Statistics indicate that one in four people may be a caregiver at some point in their lifetime. A caregiver is generally defined as any relative, partner, friend or neighbor who has a significant personal relationship with, and provides a broad range of unpaid assistance for, an older person or an adult with a chronic or disabling condition that affects them physically, psychologically or developmentally. These individuals may be primary or secondary caregivers and live with, or separately from, the person receiving care.

If you believe you are a caregiver, the information on this web page can help you navigate benefits and resources that are available to help you.

About Caregiver Support 
Working caregivers have varying levels of responsibilities and often find themselves in difficult and unexpected situations. As an employee of the State of Ohio, knowing how to obtain the support that is available will help you balance your role as a caregiver and your role in the workplace. Depending on the nature of the relationship with the individual you are caring for, and your specific situation, there are a number of benefits and resources available to you. 

Where to Start

Understanding what resources may apply can sometimes seem overwhelming but there are people in your agency and at the Ohio Department of Administrative Services (DAS) who can help. 

Start with your agency’s human resources representative.

  • Contact your human resources representative and tell them you are a caregiver. Ask to discuss your leave options and other types of support that may be available.
  • Your human resources representative can help explain the various leave options that may be available to you and help you create a plan based on your eligibility, job duties and caregiver responsibilities.  
  • Your human resources representative also can help you work with your supervisor if you don’t feel comfortable having that conversation on your own. 

Talk to your immediate supervisor

  • If you feel more comfortable, talk with your supervisor about your caregiver needs. You can work with your supervisor on what options are available to you to allow you to balance your role as a caregiver and your role in the workplace.
  • Your supervisor also can help coordinate a conversation with your agency’s human resources representative to discuss your leave options.

Customer service and support

  • The Ohio Employee Assistance Program (OEAP) is another resource available to all state employees. A representative from OEAP can help you find resources and put you in contact with people who can help. Contact OEAP by email, oeap@das.ohio.gov, or by phone, 1-800-221-6327.

Benefits

Every caregiver's situation is unique and there are a wide variety of resources that may apply to you and your caregiver situation. This site provides you with an overview of resources that may be eligible to you based on your employment with the State of Ohio. Your agency human resources office is the best resource for you in determining your eligibility and helping you to access the available resources. 

Leave Plans

State of Ohio employees who need to be out of the workplace to care for someone may be eligible to use one or more of the following paid leave options:

• Sick leave;
• Vacation leave;
• Personal leave;
• Compensatory time off; and
• Donated leave.

There also are unpaid leave options that you may be able to use independently or in conjunction with other paid leave options:

• Family Medical Leave: Time off of work under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is job-protected leave that allows you to be away from work to care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition.  
• You may be eligible to request an unpaid leave of absence from your agency in order to care for your immediate family member. 
• Your agency also may have the option to participate in a voluntary cost savings program that allows you to be off work by reducing your schedule and being off work in a “no pay” status. 

For specific eligibility requirements and other information, contact your agency’s human resources office, refer to your agency policies and, if applicable, your collective bargaining agreement. 

Scheduling Options

Depending on your job duties, your agency may allow you to adjust your work schedule to accommodate your caregiver needs. For example, you may be able to adjust your start time and end time for the day in order to take a family member to a doctor’s appointment. Talk to your human resources representative or supervisor to find out what scheduling options are available to you.  

Here are some examples of common types of scheduling options. Your agency may offer some or all of these options. The descriptions are provided to help you in discussing these options with your human resources representative or supervisor. 

Alternative Work Schedule: A schedule other than a standard five day, 40-hour work week. This could include working 10 hours a day for four days. 
Flex Time: allowing an employee to adjust their work hours within a pay period or work week.

Ohio Employee Assistance Program

When you are taking care of others, it is important to remember that you also need to take care of yourself. The Ohio Employee Assistance Program (OEAP) is an intake, information, counseling and support service for state employees and their family members. OEAP is designed to help employees, managers and agencies meet the many life challenges while remaining healthy, engaged and productive. OEAP is available to assist you with the many aspects of coping with being a caregiver.

When an employee or their family member calls OEAP seeking caregiver assistance, the staff will help locate and refer them to appropriate community or state-based caregiver resources. The OEAP staff also will offer support and, if necessary, refer the employee or the family to counseling services, if requested. Additionally, the OEAP maintains a resource directory on its website which contains additional state and national resources, and publishes educational materials through its monthly newsletter, Frontline Focus, related to caregiver and family support.

For more information, please visit the OEAP website at ohio.gov/oeap, or contact OEAP by email, oeap@das.ohio.gov, or by phone, 1-800-221-6327 or 1-614-644-8545.

Flexible Spending Accounts

Being a caregiver can result in additional expenses for which you might not be prepared. Employees enrolled in a Dependent Care Spending Account program may use funds set aside for certain expenses associated with dependent care. You can set aside earnings, pre-tax, in order to pay for anticipated dependent care expenses while you are at work, including elder daycare expenses. There are some parameters including dependent eligibility, as well as contribution requirements of a minimum of $240 or a maximum of $5,000, depending on tax filing status.

For more information about Dependent Care Spending Accounts, visit the Flexible Spending Accounts website or WageWorks.

FAQs

1. I take care of my aging parent and I may need to be available to provide care during work hours. What do I do if I need to be away from work to care for my aging parent?

The State of Ohio provides a number of different leave benefits that you may be able to use in this situation. State employees who need to be out of the workplace to care for someone may be eligible to use one or more of the following paid leave options: sick leave, vacation leave, personal leave, compensatory time off and donated leave. Your eligibility for any of these types of leave plans will be based on your specific caregiver situation and job duties. Your human resources representative or your supervisor can help you determine the paid leave options for which you are eligible. 

There also are unpaid leave options that you may be able to use independently or in conjunction with other paid leave options, including leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), unpaid leaves of absence or participation in voluntary cost savings programs. You also can ask your human resources representative or supervisor about these options.

2. What are my options if I only have to be away from work on certain days of the week or during certain times?

Utilizing accrued leave, an alternative work schedule, or flex time may be some of the options available to you. Talk to your supervisor and/or your agency’s human resources representative to learn what options are available to you. Make sure you have supervisory approval prior to using leave or changing your schedule.   

3. Being a caregiver can be stressful and overwhelming at times. Is there someone I can talk to about how to cope with being a caregiver?

The Ohio Employee Assistance Program (OEAP) is available to assist you with the many aspects of coping with being a caregiver. OEAP is an intake, information, counseling referral and support service for state employees and their family members and has representatives available to assist you. For more information, visit the OEAP website. Contact OEAP by email at oeap@das.ohio.gov, or call OEAP at 1-614-644-8545 or 1-800-221-6327.  

4. Is there any way to connect with other people who are experiencing a similar situation as a caregiver that I am?

There are variety of support organizations that allow caregivers to connect. The Family Caregiver Alliance has online caregiver groups that allow you to connect with others in similar situations. For more information, visit the Family Caregiver Alliance website

Depending on your work location, there also may be other options such as Brown Bag lunches where you could connect with other state employee caregivers and obtain resources about being a caregiver.

5. Are my leave benefits different depending on whether I am a bargaining unit or exempt employee?

Bargaining unit and exempt employees are eligible to receive leave benefits. However, the leave benefits may be slightly different between bargaining unit and exempt employees, and may even be different between bargaining units. To determine the leave benefits available to you, please contact your supervisor and/or your agency’s human resources representative. . 

6. Who should I talk to in my agency about balancing my role as a caregiver and my responsibilities at work?

Talking to you agency human resources representative or your supervisor is a good place to start. He or she can help you determine what leave benefits you are eligible for and share helpful resources. If you would like to talk with someone outside of your agency about your caregiver situation, you could contact the Ohio Employee Assistance Program (OEAP). OEAP can help get you in contact with outside resources relating to being a caregiver. For more information, visit the OEAP website. Contact OEAP by email at oeap@das.ohio.gov, or call OEAP at 1-614-644-8545 or 1-800-221-6327.  

7. When I talk to my human resources representative or my supervisor, do I have to provide details about my loved one’s health situation?

No, you do not have to provide details of your loved one’s situation to your supervisor; however, any information you would feel comfortable sharing may help him or her better understand your situation so he or she could offer additional guidance and support. If you are pursuing coverage under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), you may need to submit documentation to your agency’s human resources office prior to being approved.

8. Where can I go for additional information regarding caring for my loved one?

There are a number of state agencies that have resources and information available. Refer to the Resources tab and the Support Organizations tab on this website for links to helpful resources.

9. I am the sole caregiver for my loved one. Are there services available such as adult care providers that I can work with when I am not available or if I need a break?

There are organizations that provide adult care services. The information on the Resources tab on this website provides links to organizations based on some common caregiver needs. For aging adults, your area agency on aging can connect you with services. You can call toll-free 1-866-243-5678 to be connected to the agency serving your community.

If you are enrolled in a Dependent Care Spending Account, you may use funds set aside for certain expenses associated with dependent care. For more information about Dependent Care Spending Accounts, visit the Flexible Spending Accounts website or WageWorks.

Resources

Below are resources for the most common caregiver needs.

An aging adult at home

I am providing care for an aging adult in his/her home or in my home. Where can I find information about programs, services and other resources?

Your area agency on aging can connect you with services and supports, including information and referral, caregiver education, support groups, transportation and homemaker services, minor home modifications, meals, caregiver assistance and more.

Area agencies on aging are designated by the Ohio Department of Aging and provide assessment and case management for long-term services and supports, as well as coordinate an array of home and community-based services to help elders age in place. They can help you find the resources you need to be an effective caregiver and ensure your loved one gets the care he or she deserves.
Call toll-free 1-866-243-5678 to be connected to the agency serving your community.

You will find information about other services and resources that can help you help your older loved one live a healthier, more independent life in his or her own community at the Ohio Department of Aging’s website or by calling 1-800-266-4346.

An older adult who needs more care than I can give at home

I am considering moving my family member into an assisted living facility or nursing home so that he or she can get the care he or she needs. Can someone help us understand our living options and how to pay for it?

Your area agency on aging should be your first call. Staff can conduct a long-term care consultation to help you identify your loved one’s care needs and the best options and settings for meeting those needs. Call toll-free 1-866-243-5678 to be connected to the agency serving your community.

To research nursing homes, assisted living facilities (also called residential care facilities) and other care settings in Ohio, visit with the Ohio Long-Term Care Consumer Guide. This website describes each care setting and lets you compare care providers in your area. Information includes available services, staffing, inspection reports and resident and family satisfaction ratings.

The federal Nursing Home Compare website offers information about nursing homes nationwide with a five-star quality rating system.

I want my older loved one to receive the best care even if I can’t provide it myself. Can someone help me understand what to expect from care providers, how to find the best care available and how to resolve issues when they arise?

The Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman helps individuals and families understand their rights as consumers and expect excellence from care providers in all settings, from your loved one’s home to a nursing home. They can provide information to help you select providers who can best meet your loved one’s needs and understand your payment options and available benefits, as well as help resolve issues with care services. Call 1-800-282-1206 or email OhioOmbudsman@age.ohio.gov to talk to an ombudsman.

A low-income adult who needs health care coverage

I am caring for a low-income adult who needs health care coverage. Where can I find information about benefits eligibility?

The Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) is a good place to start. Once on the site, click the For Ohioans tab for information about who qualifies for coverage. Individuals can check his or her eligibility and apply for Medicaid on the Ohio Benefits website. You also can contact your local county department of job and family services with questions about Medicaid eligibility. Click here for a list of the county departments of job and family services and contact information.

An adult with a disability who is seeking employment

I am caring for an individual with a disability who is seeking employment. Where can I find information and resources about how to utilize community-based rehabilitative services and find quality employment options?

Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) may be available to help. OOD administers Ohio’s Vocational Rehabilitation program that assists individuals (ages 14 and above) with physical, intellectual, mental health and sensory disabilities to obtain and retain employment. Individuals who are interested in vocational rehabilitation resources are encouraged to visit OODWorks.com where they can watch a video about our services, take a brief self-assessment and apply for services online. 

For more information, call 1-800-282-4536 to be connected to your local OOD office.

An adult with a developmental disability

I am caring for an adult with a developmental disability. Where can I find information about programs, services and other resources?

The Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) may be able to help. On the DODD website, click the Individuals and Families tab for information about programs, services and resources that may be available to you or the adult for whom you are a caregiver. You may call DODD at 1-800-617-6733, or visit DODD’s Contacts at Ohio County Boards of Developmental Disabilities website for a list of the developmental disability service organizations near you.

In Ohio, the county board is the primary contact for an individual and their family. The county board will work with you to determine eligibility of your loved one for services. Once your loved one is eligible for services, the county board will link you to services and supports. Services may include assistance with household tasks, transportation or managing medication. For additional information about services for your loved one, click here.

A veteran

I am caring for a veteran. Where can I find information about programs, services and other resources?

The Ohio Department of Veterans Services (ODVS) may be available to help. On the site, click on the Benefits tab for information about the programs, services and other benefits. ODVS provides information about Ohio’s Veterans Homes, health care for veterans, and financial assistance. For additional information about these services, you may call ODVS at 1-614-644-0898 (main number), 1-877-644-6838 (benefits information) or 1-800-273-8255 (veterans crisis line). 

Your local county veterans services office is available to help you understand what benefits the veteran may be eligible for. These benefits could include in home personal care services or home delivered meals. There are eighty eight County Veterans Service Offices (CVSOs) that are available to assist you. For a list of county veterans services and their contact offices in Ohio, click here.

The federal Veterans Administration (VA) also provides support and services both in and out of the home.  For more information about what benefits may be available, click here. You also could be connected with a Caregiver Support Coordinator at your nearby VA Medical Center by calling the Caregiver Support line at 1-855-260-3274.

Legal Resources

Support Organizations

Below are a few of the many agencies and organizations that offer caregiver support. 

Ohio Department of Aging
The Ohio Department of Aging is the designated State Unit on Aging, as required by the Federal Older Americans Act. For a list of the Department of Aging’s specific services click here.
Area Agencies on Aging Located in all 88 counties, Area Agencies on Aging responds to the needs of the elderly in the communities they serve through service coordination, education, as well as providers of information and referral services.
Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities The Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) oversees a statewide system of supports and services for people with developmental disabilities and their families. DODD does this by developing services that ensure an individual’s health and safety, encourage participation in the community, increase opportunities for meaningful employment and provide residential services and support from early childhood through adulthood.
Ohio Department of Health The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) oversees many public health programs and services in Ohio. For a list of ODH’s specific programs and services, click here.
Ohio Department of Medicaid
With a network of approximately 90,000 active providers, the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) delivers health care coverage to more than 3 million residents of Ohio on a daily basis through a variety of programs and services. Working closely with stakeholders, advocates, medical professionals and fellow state agencies, the agency continues to find new ways to modernize Medicaid in Ohio.
Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services
The mission of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) is to provide statewide leadership of a high-quality mental health and addiction prevention, treatment and recovery system that is effective and valued by all Ohioans.
Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities
Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) is the State of Ohio agency that partners with Ohioans with disabilities to achieve quality employment and independence. OOD also makes determinations on Social Security disability. OOD works with partners in business, education and non-profit organizations to facilitate customized employment plans for Ohioans with disabilities; help Ohio companies recruit and retain employees with disabilities; and is the sole agency administering the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs in Ohio.
Ohio Department of Veterans Services
The Ohio Department of Veterans Services (ODVS) provides opportunities and resources for our veteran community through advocacy, collaboration and partnerships. For information on benefits, programs and services available, click here.
Social Security Administration
Social Security has provided financial protection for our nation's people for over 80 years.
Medicare (U.S. Government Site)
Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people who are age 65 or older, certain younger people with disabilities and people with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant, sometimes called ESRD). For information about Medicare coverage, click here.
Alzheimer’s Association Provides information about Alzheimer's disease and dementia symptoms, diagnosis, stages, treatment, care and support resources.
Family Caregiver Alliance Provides support, research and advocacy on behalf of caregivers.
State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Provides support, advice, information and advocacy for family caregivers.
Caregiver Action Network Provides support, advice, information and advocacy for family caregivers.
Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program (OSHIIP) Provides objective Medicare health insurance information and one-on-one counseling through the Ohio Department of Insurance.
Ohio Medicaid Consumer Hotline Answers questions regarding the Ohio Medicaid Program and providers,(800) 324-8680.
Hospice Foundation of America Provides information about issues related to hospice and end-of-life care.
Pro Seniors Provides unbiased legal resources.