My wife and I live with our children in Australia. My wife's family live in South Africa. My 45 y.o. brother-in-law is severely disabled with cerebral palsy needing high level nursing care since birth. He is at the level of a 10 month old child, he is blind, cannot talk and is completely bedridden, his limbs are contracted into fixed positions , he has severe scoliosus(curvature of the spine) and needs high level 24 hr care which was provided by my mother in law almost exclusively. She suddenly passed away 2 months ago. They had been living with my other brother in law who had been maintaining them . My father in law lives a couple of hundred km's away and is elderly, not well off and has poor health. His capability and temperament restricts his ability to contribute. I have undertaken to provide financially for my brother in law . This is for health costs, the provision of a full time live in carer, and the building of a self contained unit for that person. With good care he is expected to have a normal life expectancy (another 30 years) inshallah.
I was wondering if it is possible to pay for these expenses with my zakaah money?
Al-jawab billahi at-taufeeq (the answer with Allah's guidance)
The Meaning of Zakat:
Transferring ownership of an amount of material wealth specified by the Lawgiver to a Specified person (poor Muslim and the remainder rightful recipients who is not Hashimi (those from the family of the Prophet) nor their patron, without any material benefit returning to the giver in any way (such as, one cannot give Zakat to one's parents, children, or spouse, because benefits between these people are shared), for the sake of Allah Most High. (Nurul Idhah Pg.153, Hashiyat Tahtawi Pg. 713)
Allah Ta'ala says,
"The Sadaqat (prescribed alms) are (meant) only to be given to the poor, the needy, to those employed to collect them, to those whose hearts are to be won, in the cause of the slaves and those encumbered with debt, in the way of Allah and to a wayfarer. This is an obligation prescribed by Allah. Allah is all knowing, wise." (Noble Quran 9:60, Mufti Taqi )
If your Brother in law is poor then he will be eligible for Zakah. It is important to note that only the recipient of Zakah must take benefit of the Zakah money, and not any other person who is not eligible for Zakah.
If you want to hire a carer for your brother in law then the costs should be through other means besides Zakah.