Paying for Respite


Caregiving can be demanding. Getting respite care is important for your health and for your ability to continue to care for your loved one. Respite care provides relief for the family caregiver, whether it is for a few hours, a few days or a week. Take care of yourself! Your first call should be to a respite coordinator at 1-866-RESPITE (1-866-737-7483).

Finding funds for respite care isn't always easy. Below is a guide that will help sort out some possible funding sources for you.

What is Lifespan Respite Subsidy?

This program pays for respite services to give the primary family caregiver a temporary break. Respite means the provision of short-term relief to primary family caregivers from the demands of ongoing care for an individual with special needs. Ongoing care means continuous, full-time supervision/care for a person with special needs. DHHS Manual reference 464 NAC 1-007 and 1-008. It is NOT for people who are receiving respite services from another government program.

Who Needs This Program?

Unpaid family caregivers who need a temporary break from providing ongoing care to persons of any age with special needs. Examples of special needs are developmental disabilities; physical disabilities; chronic illness; physical, mental or emotional conditions that require supervision; special health care needs; cognitive impairments such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia; or persons at risk of abuse & neglect. Eligibility is based on income guidelines. HOWEVER, if you have expenses directly related to the disability, these can usually be subtracted from the counted income. The person applying must have a family caregiver living in the same home. The program will provide up to $125 per eligible client per month.

What if I Have Questions or Need Help with the Application?

Call a Respite Network Coordinator in your area at 1-866-RESPITE (1-866-737-7483), or find a local Lifespan Respite contact.

What are the Program Eligibility Income Limits?

DHHS program regulation 464-NAC 2-004.03 Financial Eligibility:

2-004.03A Family Size: Family size is determined by the number of adults and/or children related by blood, marriage or adoption who reside in the same household. An unborn child may be included. The following are considered separate families:

  1. Related adults other than spouses and unrelated adults who reside together;
  2. Children living with non-legally responsible relatives;
  3. Emancipated minors;
  4. A minor parent; and
  5. Children placed outside the home and who are not residing full-time with the biological parents or usual caretaker.

2-004.03C Income Eligibility: Clients whose gross income minus allowable disregards is at or below 312 percent of the Federal poverty level for the appropriate family size, meet the income criteria for the Respite Subsidy Program.

Income Levels (312% Federal Poverty Level)

Family Size | Monthly Income Criteria

1 | $3,157

2 | $4,281

3 | $5,404

4 | $6,527

5 | $7,650

6 | $8,773

7 | $9,897

8 | $11,020

Family Size Maximum Financial Resource Limit
1 $35,000
2 or more $50,000

How do I Apply?

Submit a Lifespan Respite Subsidy application (and supportive documentation, if needed) electronically to OR mail to:
DHHS, Division of Children & Family Services,
Attn: Economic Assistance,
P.O. Box 95026,
Lincoln, NE 68509-5044.

To speak with Program staff, call (402) 471-9188 (Jan Drewel, Social Services Worker) or (402) 471-1764 (Sharon Johnson, Program Coordinator) or (402) 471-9450 (Economic Assistance Support Staff).

Application Forms and Fact Sheets

The Disabled Children's Program (DCP) assists families with children living at home who receive monthly Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and are age 15 or younger. DCP will only provide services that are not covered through Medicaid services or other programs. The program supports are based on the child's disability and the family's needs.

Eligible services may include: respite care funding to give caregivers a temporary break, out-of-town mileage reimbursement for longer distance travel to medical care and home/vehicle modifications for accessibility.

Western Nebraska Gering (800) 477-6393
Central Nebraska Grand Island (800) 892-7922
Southeast Nebraska Lincoln (877) 213-4754
Northern Nebraska Norfolk (888) 704-0180
Southwest Nebraska North Platte (800) 778- 1600
Omaha area (402) 595-2120

Adoption subsidy approved by DHHS prior to the finalization of an adoption. Adoptive parent(s) may request an increase in the subsidy rate if your child encounters an unusual expense not generally incurred by a family and which is based on the child’s special needs. Note: Private or out-of-state subsidized adoptions have unique considerations
and may qualify for Lifespan Respite Subsidy.

Children and Family Services Protection and Safety

Deanna Brakhage
Sub-Adopt Program Specialist
(402) 417-9331 or

Persons who are 18 years of age or older and have a substantial functional or mental impairment OR 18 years of age or older and have a guardian that was appointed by the Nebraska probate code AND there are allegations of abuse, neglect, or exploitation, including self-neglect.

Adult Protective Services
Call the 24-hour toll-free hotline at 1-800-652-1999

Adult Protective Services Manual Letter

Children who are unable to live safely at home. The Department provides the child with a substitute family approved or licensed by the Department. DHHS and a family team work with children and families to find solutions for needs, including respite.


ACCESS Nebraska Economic Assistance
Customer Service (800) 383-4278
In Lincoln (402) 323 3900
In Omaha (402) 595-1258 8:00 am - 5:00 pm Monday thru Friday

Individuals of all ages who are eligible for Medicaid and have needs at nursing facility level of care. Want to live at home rather than a nursing facility and can be served safely at home.

Home and Community-Based Services
  • Children ages birth to three: Early Childhood Planning Regions
  • Children ages 3 to 17: Local DHHS offices
  • Adults 18-64: Independent Living Centers Adult over 65: Area Agencies on Aging

Adults, age 21 years or older, and their families as appropriate, with intellectual or developmental disabilities (DD). Respite included in available services. Income eligibility requirements.

Pam Hovis
Waiver Manager, Division of Developmental Disabilities
(402) 471-8717

Provides support services to informal family caregivers of individuals 60 years of age and older. The Caregiver can receive support in the form of care management, respite,education and training, information and assistance and various supplemental services. A service can be approved if it allows the caregiver to successfully maintain their caregiving role. Another aspect of the NFCSP is support for grandparents or relative caregivers who are the primary caregiver for a grandchild who is eighteen years of age or younger.
Department of Health & Human Services State Unit on Aging
(402) 471-2307
(800) 942-07830 (Nebraska Only)

Medicaid through Personal Assistance Services, Skilled Nursing Care Services and temporary Nursing Home Care Active Medicaid and program.

Active Medicaid and program-specific eligibility. Applicant must request respite resource from Access Nebraska Medicaid & Long-Term Care staff who determines eligibility.

Medical Eligibility
Customer Service Contact:
Call (855) 632-7633
In Lincoln (402) 473-7000
In Omaha (402) 595-1178
8:00 am-5:00 pm Monday thru Friday


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Are You Caring for a Veteran?

Respite care is a covered benefit for all veterans who are enrolled in the VA health care system and meet defined requirements. Depending on geographic location and the recipient's preference, care can be provided in the home, in adult day care, or in a VA medical or community living center.

Respite Care from the Department of Veterans Affairs is a program that provides trained caregivers that attend to the individual in need of care.
Caregivers play an important role in the health and well-being of Veterans. The Caregiver Support Program offers training, educational resources, and multiple tools to help you succeed. Please contact our Caregiver Support Line for advice on being a caregiver. 
Our Veteran program is designed to evaluate and provide opportunities for improvement physically, mentally and socially for participants.  Veterans will participate in 45 minute sessions conducted by the HETRA team.  The HETRA team consists of Veteran Volunteers (Horse leaders and Sidewalkers to assist the participant), PATH, Intl. Certified Instructors, Occupational Therapists, and a Mental Health Therapist. If you have questions or are interested in enrolling in the Equine Services for Veterans Program please contact Edye Godden at or (402) 359-8830.

General Caregiver Support Services and Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers

If the veteran is not connected to the VA, visit their local county Veteran Service Officer, or:
If the veteran goes to the VA contact their PACT team social worker for services Caregiver may contact the Caregiver Support Coordinator.

Program specifically developed to support Caregivers of Veterans. Assists with accessing a wide range of services available to Veterans that may help ease Caregiver burden. Identifies and creates support resources to help educate Caregivers, alleviate Caregiver stress and improve wellness of Caregivers.

Caregiver Support Coordinator at each VA medical center 1-855-260-3274 to reach VA’s Caregiver Support Line

Joni S Morin MSW, LCSW
Caregiver Support Coordinator
Nebraska Western Iowa VA Health Care System

VA Caregiver Support Line
Monday through Friday, 8:00 am–11:00 pm ET
Saturday, 10:30 am–6:00 pm ET
VA Caregiver Support website

Families stationed throughout the country who have children requiring unique child care considerations due to the child’s moderate or severe special needs. USAF EFMP Respite Care is specifically designed for children whose medical conditions require assignment near major medical facilities in the continental U.S. Or whose needs are complex and require specialized community of care.

Call Child Care Aware at 1-800-424-2246

Michelle Pridell

EFMP Office at 402-294-4329 for more information