Family members can get paid for providing care in Utah, but this option may be temporary. Prior to 2020, family caregivers were not offered compensation for the care they provided. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic led legislators to expand Medicaid in the state and develop a temporary compensation package that has been expanded several times.

Although there is no guarantee this program will continue, there is support for writing it permanently into Utah legislation. Without this step, the ending of the program means family caregivers are no longer eligible for payment, but will still have access to care assistance benefits.

How Does Utah Caregiver Compensation Work?

Eligible individuals include parents, spouses and guardians with a limit of 40 hours per week that must be supported by documented care activities. The program is offered through the Utah Medicaid expansion, and qualification is determined by a service coordinator assigned to the senior in need of care. One of three Medicaid waivers provides compensation, depending on the situation.

The Community Supports Waiver and Acquired Brain Injury Waiver cover individuals who experience some form of intellectual disability, whether related to congenital disorders, traumatic injury or age. Caregivers can be compensated for self-administered supportive living if the activities performed fall within the defined scope of SL1.

SL1 includes:

  • Health and safety maintenance
  • Personal care
  • Chores and housework
  • Activities of daily living
  • Transportation
  • Finances and budgeting
  • Communication and advocacy
  • Telephone assistance
  • Socialization and skill development

The Physical Disabilities Waiver can also apply to seniors who need assistance with care due to physical infirmity. Caregivers receiving compensation under this waiver are designated to provide personal assistance deemed necessary under PA1.

PA1 includes:

  • Maintaining sanitation and safety
  • Providing health maintenance
  • Skilled medical care
  • Housekeeping and chores
  • Other activities deemed reasonable and necessary

When Will Utah Caregiver Compensation End

Originally intended to run only until December 2020, the latest extension of this Medicaid expansion benefit sets an end date of June 2023. There is a push in the state to continue the expansion permanently, though it is unknown whether this will succeed. As a temporary benefit, this is not an entitlement program, so families applying for benefits will likely be put on a waiting list until a spot opens.

If Utah Caregiver Compensation expires, the state does not currently have alternative options to provide payment to family caregivers. For those who lack the financial means to provide care without compensation, Utah does offer a few in-home care options through Medicaid to hire professional help.