Can I Get Paid to Care for a Family Member?
Republished with permission: Clare Absher RN, BSN HomeCareFiles.org
The short answer is "Maybe". Some states provide programs that pay family members to care for loved ones at home however they are usually somewhat limited. These programs vary widely from state to state and even within the same state. Although most states offer some type of respite or temporary relief for family caregivers, they often won't pay them on a regular basis to provide home care leaving big gaps in caregiver services.
About Family Caregivers
Most long-term care in the US is provided by informal and unpaid family caregivers. Family caregivers are undoubtedly the backbone of our long-term care system and vital to meeting the needs of our aging population. As a result of our country's dependence on families to care for loved ones at home, the federal government enacted the Family Caregiver Support Program (FCSP) in 2000.
Family Caregiver Support Program
All states now provide some type of support in varying degrees under FCSP which focuses efforts on family caregiving relief. State units on aging with assistance of local area agencies on aging oversee and administer family caregiving services. Many local programs offer family counseling and support groups, training, and respite care to give family caregivers a break. Search state contacts for family caregiver support to learn more about specific help offered in your area for family caregivers.
Tap into Local Resources
Information about additional family support programs may also be available through contacting your local social services, senior services, or county health departments. In some states, Medicaid (government health insurance for low-income Americans) will pay family caregivers to provide care to family members at home. However, note that Medicare (government health insurance for older Americans) will not pay for long-term or ongoing home care regardless of whether such services are provided through an agency or a family member. Take some time to research programs in your area that might be applicable to your situation including any reimbursement for family caregivers.
You might also consider trying the Family Care Navigator offered by the Family Caregiver Alliance for additional information on this topic.