Caregiving for a family member is done out of love and there is no monetary compensation attached to it. Since this is mostly the case, taking care of a loved one can be burdensome especially in the areas of the caregiver’s finances.
Remember that caregiving requires a great deal of attention and time. If you are taking care of an elderly parent or an impaired family member, chances are you’ll have to lessen your work hours or quit your job completely. This can mean a smaller income or none at all. If you’re facing this dilemma, don’t fret as you can actually get paid for family caregiving. Here are the ways.
Medicaid’s Cash and Counseling Program
If you’re loved one is eligible for Medicaid, you can be paid through its Cash & Counseling Program.
Traditionally, Medicaid covers in-home care by covering the care expenses provided by home care agencies. However, these agencies are mostly understaffed; therefore, the care they provide is short of what is required. Due to this, family members share a portion of the care responsibilities and sometimes even exceed the level of care provided by the agencies.
With the Cash and Counseling Program, those people needing care will have the option to choose their in-home care provider. Through this, Medicaid gives them an amount that they can use for care. It can be used to pay their caregiver of choice—which could be a family member just like you. More so, they can spend it on things that can improve their current situation or pay for services such as transportation.
The amount that your loved one will receive will be highly dependent on how Medicaid has assessed his current situation. The present home care rate in your state is also a determining factor. More so, remember that your loved one needs to meet certain conditions to be eligible for this program.
Currently, the Cash and Counseling Program is available in 15 states—Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia. Meanwhile, other states have a program that somehow resembles it. Some of them provide monetary benefits to seniors even if their money is not qualified for Medicaid’s asset requirement.
If you want to learn more about your state’s program, you can seek the assistance of Medicaid, Human Services and Social Services.
Long Term Care Insurance
If your loved one is a policyholder of long term care insurance, he can use his benefits to pay you for caregiving. However, policies have different conditions when it comes to covering in-home care. Typically, they only pay for services that are rendered by licensed caregivers.
If that is the case, you can look into your options of being certified. To know what the necessary requirements are, you can seek help from the National Family Caregivers Association or Family Caregivers Alliance. Typically, you need to attend certification classes which are offered at reasonable rates at local schools and colleges.
Meanwhile, if your care recipient holds an indemnity type of long term care insurance, his policy can cover for your compensation. An indemnity policy pays the maximum benefit regardless of how much is actually incurred in care services. Since it pays the policyholder directly, your loved one will have full discretion on how the money will be spent. Therefore, he can easily utilize the cash to pay you.
If none of the options above are applicable to your loved one, he can opt to tap his own resources to pay for the care you provide. If you choose to go this route, come up with a simple agreement. Yes, you are family and this may seem awkward and inappropriate, but having an agreement in paper avoids future conflicts.
In the said agreement, make sure to include the amount that you are to be paid and the duration and amount of care that you will put in. Apart from avoiding rifts and misunderstandings, this document can also work to your loved one’s advantage should time comes that he needs to apply for Medicaid. Your agreement will serve as proof that his money is actually spent on care and not just hidden away in order to qualify for the program.
Currently, 39% of adults have provided unpaid care to an adult family member or friend. From 2010, it has considerably hiked up from 27%. This can be parallel to the inclining cost of care as well as the demand for it. Amid this alarming scenario, it’s still comforting to know that there are different options that can shield family caregivers from financial catastrophe.