paid caregiver for family member

How to Become a Paid Caregiver for a Family Member

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Research done by AARP indicates that one in every five Americans acts as a primary caregiver for their loved ones.

Caring for a family member is often a demanding but rewarding experience. You get to spend time with your family member while also giving them the quality care they need. Particularly, taking a manual handling in aged care course can ensure you provide your older ailing relative with the best quality care.

Unfortunately, being a family member caregiver can negatively affect your finances.  Most primary caregivers have to leave their jobs to take care of their loved ones. Besides, your ailing loved one may be dependent on you to take care of their expenses.

To ease your financial burden, you need to be aware of any financial assistance options available for family caregivers. And to keep you informed, here is how you can become a paid caregiver for your loved one.

1. Paid Family Caregivers for Medicaid Recipients

Medicaid is a state program that provides medical coverage to people that have limited resources. Eligible individuals include the aged population, those from low-income families, and people living with disabilities. 

Medicaid has several policies that allow family members who are caregivers to be paid. These programs, referred to as self-directed medical services, allow Medicaid recipients to use their budget to hire any caregiver they might want, including family members.

Although these programs vary from state to state, the common ones include:

  • Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP)
  • Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Services (CDPAS)
  • Medicaid cash and counseling programs

You can contact your local Medicaid office to determine if your loved one is eligible for any of the above services.

2. Veterans Aid Recipients

If your family member is eligible for veteran aid, they can join the Veteran Directed Care program. This program allows the recipient to manage their care which may mean they can hire a family member to be their caregiver. Other benefits included in this program include respite care, mental health services, and travel expenses.

Moreover, if your veteran needs assisted home care, they can benefit from Aid and Attendance Benefits which can cover costs related to family caregivers. A surviving spouse of a qualified veteran may also benefit from the same service.

Visit your state’s veteran benefits office to determine if your loved one is eligible for any of the two benefits.

3. Caregiver Payments Provided By Long Term Insurance Policies

Your loved one long term care insurance policy may have provisions to pay a family caregiver.

In case you have doubts about the payment, you can always contact the insurance agent.

4. Choose Home and Community-Based Services Programs

If your loved one is a Medicaid beneficiary receiving home care, they’re most likely eligible for a home and community-based services program.

A CHBS program is also available for older adults or those with mental, intellectual, physical, or developmental disabilities.

Such programs will reduce your financial burden as a caregiver as they give you a tax-free daily stipend while also providing you with guidance and support.

5. Tax Credits and Reimbursements

Many caregivers are surprised to learn that they can get tax credits for caring for their loved ones.

Although the tax credit may not pay you directly, it can reduce your financial burden. For instance, if your parent’s gross income is less than $4,300 and you pay most of their support expenses, you can claim them as a dependent.  

Besides, you may successfully deduct some care expenses, including:

  •  Prescription drugs
  •  Nursing services
  •  Dental treatments
  •  Medicare part B and D premiums
  •  Surgeries
  •  In house mobility improvement equipment
  •  Long term care services

6. Negotiate With Your Family Members to Pay You as a Caregiver

Your siblings or relatives may be willing to compensate you for offering your services as a caregiver. Others may be in a position to contribute to your rent and other bills. Don’t be afraid to have this conversation with your family members, as they would probably need to hire a paid caregiver if you aren’t in a position to help.

To make this agreement legal, meet with a lawyer and draft a contract that clearly states your duties, payment, and contract duration.

A family member can get paid when they offer care to a loved one. Explore the options discussed above and determine if there is a way you can get compensated for providing care to your ailing family member.