Family members can get paid for caregiving in New Jersey through the Personal Preference Program. Seniors who are eligible for this program receive a monthly budget that they can use to hire a personal care assistant (PCA) of their choice, including a family member. Seniors work with a financial consultant to identify and manage their needs. This is an in-home care option.

How to Qualify for a Personal Care Assistant in New Jersey

New Jersey seniors who want to hire a family member as a personal care assistant must work through the Personal Preference Program. First, seniors must enroll in NJ FamilyCare Plan A, meeting its financial and other requirements. From there, potential PCA recipients must prove that they qualify for the Personal Preference Program. They must have a doctor’s order and documented proof that they require the services to be provided. Seniors must also live in a private home or in a community that does not provide care services and must require services for at least six months.

When eligibility is proven, seniors work with a financial consultant, who determines the monthly allowance that seniors can receive in the program. The financial consultant will also help seniors allocate the money. This allocation may include hiring a family member as a PCA but can also involve the purchase of equipment and supplies that can help them remain independent.

The Role of a Family Member Personal Care Assistant

Any family member, including a spouse, may serve as a personal care assistant under the Personal Preference Program. PCAs provide a wide variety of services, including help with daily living activities like bathing and dressing, mobility assistance, meal preparation and medication management. PCAs may also run errands, clean, provide transportation and do laundry. They monitor health and behavior as well.

Seniors who wish to hire a family member as a PCA work through the self-directed care option of the Personal Preference Program. This means that they hire their own PCA (who must still go through training) and handle scheduling, time sheets, payment authorization and PCA supervision. This allows for greater flexibility than using a PCA agency, and this option is available throughout New Jersey. Seniors must, however, create a backup plan so that a substitute worker is on hand if their regular PCA is unavailable. This requires a Risk Assessment Profile created in conjunction with the financial consultant.