Long-Term Care Insurance and Family Care Agreements
Long-term care insurance benefits to family caregivers
Only a relatively small number of older adults have long-term care insurance. But if the person or persons you're caring for have such a policy and it covers in-home care, there may be a way for you to be paid out of its benefits. If the policy covers in-home care but the persons in your care aren't yet collecting benefits, you can help them file a claim for benefits based on their care needs. If they qualify for monthly in-home care benefits and the policy pays them directly to them, they can use that money to pay you.
If, on the other hand, the policy requires that payment be made only to a state-certified in-home care aide, check with the National Family Caregivers Association or the Family Caregiver Alliance to find out the requirements in your state for getting such certification yourself. Often, low-cost certification classes are offered at local adult schools or community colleges.
Drawing up a personal care agreement
If the person or persons you're caring for are going to pay you -- from any source, including independent funds -- for caregiving, it's a good idea to draw up a simple contract that sets out the terms of the care and payment. This can help avoid uncertainty and disagreement between you and them about what you're supposed to be doing and when. Also, it can help avoid misunderstandings with other family members about who's supposed to be providing care and about where the money is going. If the person or person you're caring for ever need to enter a nursing home and aren't already on Medicaid, the agreement will show that these payments to you were legitimate, and not just an attempt to "hide" funds in order to qualify for Medicaid. To find out more about why a personal care agreement can be a good idea, and how to go about drafting one, see Prepare a Personal Care Agreement With Your Parent.