Community Blog

Ways to Get Paid as a Family Caregiver

By Debbie Humphrey

There’s a question I am frequently asked when talking to potential clients’ family members: “How can I get paid as a family caregiver for my loved one?”

This is a very good question that does not come with a one-size-fits-all response. Every situation is different, and individual circumstances dictate the appropriate answer. I don’t say this because I am in the care-giving business, but because it is not always clear-cut.

In 2017, I found myself in a situation caring for my elderly Mother-in-law, which took me away from my work for a period of time. That said, I understand that family caregivers often must leave their jobs or shift their financial and personal priorities in order to assist an aging or disabled family member. Many take unpaid leaves of absence under the Family Medical Leave Act [FMLA], to care for loved ones, so why shouldn’t they get paid to compensate for lost time at work?

Through my research, I have found several ways that one can be paid as a family caregiver. However, there are a variety of qualifications for each of these programs that must be met and adhered to, before anything happens. Unfortunately, not everyone qualifies for these programs.

Department of Aging Services - According to the Administration on Aging and the Department of Aging Services, “Each state and county provides different services on behalf of the Administration on Aging. Some programs will provide stipends, reimburse caregivers for supplies, offer training, and provide respite. Paying for Senior Care maintains a list of Area Agencies on Aging and Disability resource centers that is searchable by state and county.”

Medicare - There is no coverage for in-home or adult day services.

Medicaid - If you are a family caregiver for someone covered under Medicaid, you will need to contact your local Medicaid office for details about their plan to determine eligibility. Sometimes, there are state programs that allow the Medicaid recipient to decide how their healthcare funds are spent. Sometimes, it can be paid to a family member providing in-home care.

VA Programs -Veterans and their surviving spouses may qualify for a number of programs, one of which is Aid and Attendance. It may be possible for a Veteran or spouse who is home-bound and requires health aids and other assistance, to receive additional payments through this program.
Moreover, Veterans eligible for nursing home placement may also be eligible for the Veteran-Directed Home and Community-Based Services program, meaning they may use benefits to pay for personal care assistance, including that provided by a family caregiver.

Long-Term Care Insurance - If your senior family member is covered under long-term care insurance, the policy may pay for in-home care by someone in the family, but you’ll have to examine the details. For example, if the caregiver lives in the same residence as the senior needing care, that may not be covered. All insurance policies are different, so it warrants closer examination.

Family Pool - In my experience, the primary ways that family caregivers get paid is when the one in need of care pays them, or when family members pool together and share the financial responsibility. Usually this is amicable, but there are situations when it’s definitely not. Money is often a heated topic, so it might be best for the family to draw-up a caregiver contract, speak to an elder law attorney, and/or an elder care benefits planner to examine the implications when it comes to Medicaid eligibility, taxes and inheritance, and keep the entire matter civil and above-board.

If you discover you are not eligible for any of these programs to receive pay as a family caregiver, and yet, a special senior someone still needs assistance, or maybe you simply need a break, Home Helpers® is here to help. I am happy to offer a FREE consultation, and whatever additional resources at my disposal, to assist with your needs and those of your loved one.

Home Helpers® proudly provides assistance to male and female seniors in Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Holiday, New Port Richey, Trinity, Port Richey, Hudson and surrounding areas. Contact me today to learn more about the many services offered through Home Helpers® We are Making Life Easier℠ 727.942.2539

Source: The Caregiver Space