Getting Paid as a Family Caregiver: What You Need to Know
Being a family caregiver to an aging loved one is a strong gesture of love that can be a demanding responsibility. It can affect everything from your health to your finances.
Many family members accede to the position of unpaid caregiver without warning or preparation. Some must leave their jobs or cut back on hours in order to care for their aging loved ones. There can be out-of-pocket costs for medical supplies, prescription drug copays, home modifications and more. The monetary toll alone can prove draining. But there are some ways to alleviate that.
Choosing to be a caregiver to your aging loved one does not have to mean financial sacrifice. There are several options to address financial stressors, from Medicaid to claiming your elderly parent as a dependent.
Here are 5 ways to be financially compensated as a family caregiver:
1 – If Your Loved One Is Eligible for Medicaid
There are self-directed Medicaid services that give money to qualified individuals enabling them to choose, and pay for, their own in-home caregivers. If accepted into the state’s program, the amount of money received will depend on a Medicaid assessment of need and the average state wage for in-home care aides. To learn more, reach out to the Fairfield County Area Agencies on Aging or the Westchester County Senior Services Department.
2 – Become a Paid Caregiver to a Military Veteran
Veterans with service-connected injuries or medical conditions may qualify for monthly benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Contact your local VA Medical Center for eligibility details for each of the following programs:
● Veteran Directed Care (VDC)
The VDC Program is designed to keep veterans in their communities. Similar to self-directed care under Medicaid, this program allows qualified veterans to manage their own long-term services with a monthly budget.
● Aid and Attendance (A&A) Benefits
A&A Benefits supplement a military pension to cover the cost of a caregiver. This benefit is offered to veterans with severely incapacitating disabilities. The spouse of a deceased qualifying veteran may also be eligible for this benefit.
● Housebound Benefits
Similar to A&A Benefits, Housebound Benefits supplement a veteran’s pension to help cover the cost of caregiving. This benefit is offered to veterans who are mostly confined to their home due to a permanent disability.
A person cannot receive both A&A and Housebound Benefits at the same time.
● Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC)
The PCAFC provides a financial stipend to caregivers. This program is for eligible veterans who have incurred or aggravated a serious injury or illness in the line of duty on or before May 7, 1975 or on or after September 11, 2001.
3 – Receive Payments from Long-Term Care or Life Insurance Policies
If your loved one has long-term care insurance, it may cover the cost of a caregiver. However, not all policies extend that coverage to paying spouses or other family members living in the home. Contact your loved one’s insurance company for specifics on their policy details.
4 – Negotiate Payments with your Loved One or other Family Members
In some cases, the person receiving care has enough financial resources to pay their caregiver for their services. If this is a viable option, your aging loved one can choose to compensate you for the same services a professional home health care worker would provide. To avoid potential conflicts with siblings, relatives and possibly even your loved one, it is recommended to draw up a contract covering your wages, paydays, respite days and the services expected of you. It is also advised to consult with an elder law attorney.
5 – Claim an Elderly Parent as a Dependent
Many family members are surprised to discover the wide array of tax credits and deductions available to family caregivers. Though tax credits aren’t a direct way of getting paid to be a family caregiver, they can result in a substantial tax refund. Consult an accountant to discover if claiming a senior relative on your taxes will be the most financially beneficial option for your family.
Reach out to Oasis Senior Advisors for information on these and other best practices that meet your unique needs as you take on the role of family caregiver. Get in touch by calling 475.619.4123 or 914.356.1901 or by filling out this online form.