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 and Exceptional Circumstances of up to additional $1,000/eligibility year.

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 | 2022 Monthly Income Criteria

1 | $3,513

2 | $4,747

3 | $5,980

4 | $7,213

5 | $8,449

6 | $9,681

7 | $10,913

8 | $12,149

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
PO Box 98933
Lincoln, NE 68509-8933

To speak with Program staff, call Jan Drewel, Social Services Worker at (402) 471-9188 or Hanna Quiring, Program Coordinator at (531) 530-7011 or Economic Assistance Support Staff at (402) 471-9450. Visit the DHHS Lifespan Respite page for more information.

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.

DHHS Adoption Support

Contact the State of NE Adoption Program Specialist at 402-219-2740 or contact your Assigned DHHS Worker

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 or local law enforcement.

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. Licensed and kinship foster parents may pay for respite themselves as caregivers using foster care maintenance funds.


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

Provides aged persons and persons of all ages with disabilities options for services and community supports, other than a nursing facility. A participant must have physical and health needs that require services like those provided by a nursing facility.

Home and Community-Based Services


A developmental disability is defined in Nebraska Revised Statute 83-1205. It is a severe, chronic disability, including intellectual disability, other than mental illness that: 1) Is due to a mental or physical impairment; 2) Began before age 22; 3) Is likely to continue; 4) Results in substantial limitations in three areas: a) Conceptual skills; b) Social skills; and c) Practical skills; and 5) Results in need for special services and supports. Comprehensive Developmental Disabilities (CDD) Waiver Allows persons of all ages with developmental disabilities to maximize their independence as they live, work, socialize, and participate to the fullest extent possible in their communities. A participant must have a developmental disability and needs that require services like those provided by an intermediate care facility for persons with developmental disabilities (ICF/DD).

Developmental Disabilities Adult Day (DDAD) Waiver
Allows persons ages 21 and over with developmental disabilities to maximize their independence as they live, work, socialize, and participate to the fullest extent possible in their communities. A participant must have a developmental disability and needs that require services like those provided by an intermediate care facility for persons with developmental disabilities (ICF/DD).

*To be eligible for any waiver, an applicant must: 1) Be a citizen of the United States of America or a qualified alien under the federal Immigration and Nationality Act and be lawfully present in the United States; 2) Be a resident of the State of Nebraska; and 3) Have active Medicaid.

Division of Developmental Disabilities
877-667-6266 or in Lincoln (402) 471-8717
OR apply anytime at Access Nebraska 855- 632-7633 or 402-473-7000 (both numbers are part of Medicaid), or at

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.

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

Intake accepted for assessment per program guidelines. DHHS conducts family assessments to determine family's strengths and needs as well as assess for child safety. Families are connected to the supports and services they need, including respite.

Alternative Response
24-hour toll-free Adult & Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 1-800-652-1999


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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
800-451-5796 Ext 4618 or 402-995-4618

VA Caregiver Support Line
VA Caregiver Support
VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System Caregiver Support

The Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) supports military families with special medical and educational needs. The program has three components: 1. Identification and Enrollment 2. Assignment Coordination 3. Family Support. A family member who has special needs is a: 1. Spouse, child, or dependent adult who, regardless of age, has special medical needs and 2. Requires medical services for a chronic condition such as asthma, attention deficit disorder, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, etc.3. Receives ongoing services from a medical specialist or 4. has significant behavioral health concerns. A child (birth through 21 years) with special educational needs who is eligible for, or receives 1. special education services through an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 2. Early Intervention Services (EIS) through an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP).

EFMP Office at 402-294-4329 for more information
Offutt AFB Exceptional Family Member Program