5 Potential Ways to Get Paid as a Family Caregiver

Programs in the U.S. vary as to what programs exist, who pays for them, and what they are called.

By Clare Absher RN, BSN  

  Need help finding care?

Family Caregiver Hugging Her Dad

  Need help finding care?

Answer "Yes" to One of These Questions and You Might be Eligible

The predominate question I am often asked by family caregivers is "Can I get paid to care for a family member?" After further research I will share some additional information on this ever popular topic. Some states offer limited programs that pay family members to take care of an elderly parent. Budget cuts at the state level, however, have further reduced options. Programs within the fifty states vary as to what if any programs exist, who pays for them and even what they are called. "Participant and Consumer Directed," "Cash and Counseling" are a few of names that refer to programs which allow folks to choose and pay a family caregiver. Many of these programs offer inadequate wages and strict income eligibility requirements including those compensated by Medicaid. I recommend answering the following questions to explore programs that your family member might be eligible for.

Does your family member already have Medicaid or can he or she qualify for Medicaid in your state?

A Medicaid needs assessment and current pay rate for home care aids in your area will help determine wages paid to a family caregiver. Contact your local social services dept or State Social Security or Medicaid agency for further guidance. https://www.carepathways.com/DHHS-States.cfm

Is your family member disabled and under 60 years old?

Some states offer programs for those with certain disabilities that may allow family caregivers to be compensated for care-giving. Refer to National Resource Center for Participant-Directed Services noted below or contact national disease foundations and local chapters for such specific disabilities.

Is your family member a veteran injured in any military conflict since 9/11?

A law passed in 2010 designated for veterans provides a monthly stipend to primary caregivers of veterans injured in military conflict after 9/11. Contact dept of US Veterans Affairs to determine benefits your loved one may be eligible.

Does your family member have long-term care insurance?

Some policies allow family members to be paid to care for a family member or if you become certified then can qualify to be a family caregiver. Consult with your insurance agent regarding policy details.

Does your family member have some savings or other financial assets?

A family member such as a parent or grand parent can decide to contract a family caregiver to provide his or her care. Consult an accountant or attorney regarding legal contracts and tax rules as well as schedule a family meeting to discuss this contractual arrangement.

Taking care of an elderly parent or other family member can be extremely challenging and quite burdensome. At the same time it can be rewarding in knowing that you may be the best caregiver because you will have your loved one's best interest at heart. Also if you are still employed, be sure to check with your employer whether they offer any elder care assistance with their benefit plans. In addition consult with your accountant whether you might be able to claim your parent as a dependent on your taxes. Learn more about Medicaid self directed services, or visit the Applied Self Direction website to get help with managing your care.

Clare Absher RN BSN

About the Author

Clare Absher is a Registered Nurse with 44 years of experience. Most of her experience is in home health serving as a caregiver, educator, patient advocate, and liaison between families and community resources. She has also worked in acute care, assisted living, and retirement settings. She is passionate about helping families care for their elderly loved ones at home.

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