I would like to know how to get paid to be a caregiver for parents?

12 answers | Last updated: Apr 25, 2017
Mommie asa asked...

I would like to know how to get paid to be a caregiver for my parents? I have no income. What financial programs can I apply for? Where can I find help?

Expert Answers

That depends on your parent's income more than on yours. If your parent has low income and few assets (other than the house your parent lives in), he or she might qualify for Medicaid. If so, a program run by Medicaid in your state might be able to pay your parent directly for care at home, which your parent could then use to pay you to provide that care. In some states, this kind of cash assistance is possible even if someone has slightly too much income or assets to qualify for Medicaid. The arrangement works through a state-run program called Cash and Counseling, or a similar program.

Normally, if a Medicaid beneficiary is eligible for regular in-home care, Medicaid provides it through a certified home care agency. But this special program directly pays the person in need of care the same amount Medicaid would pay an aide from an agency. The person needing care can spend this money on anyone he chooses to take care of him. He can also use some of the money to make home improvements for safety or comfort, or to buy personal care items. In order for you and your parent to take advantage of such an arrangement, your state has to be offering this Cash and Counseling or similar cash assistance program. To find out more about these programs, go to the page on this site called How to Get Paid for Being Your Parent's Caregiver.

You can help your parent apply for Medicaid and Cash and Counseling, or for a similar state cash assistance program, at a local Medicaid office. To find the local Medicaid office near you, contact the Eldercare Locator by phone toll-free at 800-677-1116, or you can go to any online search engine and enter the word Medicaid and the name of your state.


Community Answers

Dorym73 answered...

I am looking for an answer to this questions as well. My Father has Medicare not Medicaid which are two different things. I too would like to know if I could get paid being my father's caregiver. I don't believe the answer that was given answered anything.

Jaye answered...

In our state (Iowa) you can get registered as a Cedak provider if your parents are on elderly waiver. Elderly waiver is a program to help folks with low income. Are you living with your parents? I think this is a very tricky situation. I help my parents too... and I am in a position where I can not afford to NOT work... So I do understand your frustration. You might check with your local Area Agency on Aging and get some assistance with what is available. I do hope I helped somewhat, take care...

Sukiedogg answered...

I live in Texas. I am on both Medicare and Medicaid. My Medicaid offered me Long Term Health Care which I am currently receiving. This allows my sister to be my health care provider amd be paid for it by the state of Texas. She does not live with me, she has her own home. I also advice for you to check around for agencies that will be paying you. Some agencies pay more than others.The agencies are paid by the state and they will ask you about all the services that you do for the other person. For example, some agencies will pay for you driving your loved one around, other agencies will not. So, you could ask Medicaid about the different agencies they have.

A fellow caregiver answered...

This seems very helpful and I appreciate the info. But I still don't know how to apply for the Medicaid waiver program!! I can never get ahold of Medicaid on the phone and have left several messages. Usually the extention just rings and rings! I finally called my Dads primary care doctor and talked to someone who said they would put in for a order for a social worker to do a home evaluation and maybe they could help me. But knowing my dads insurance this will probably take weeks and I will probably have to call them several more times. It's very frustrating. I have this problem with all my Dads doctors and the VA also, EXTREMELY difficult to get answers about anything because all the phone numbers are automated and give you options that don't apply then connect you to an extention where no one answers! If I do get to leave a msg. they seldom call back. My father has Parkinsons, Alzhiemers and bladder cancer and has gotten much worse since having had 3 surgeries for bladder tumor removal in the last 8 months. He can barely walk with a cane and his memory has gotten much worse, I don't know how much longer he can live at home. It really seems like he will have to fall and really hurt himself before he is considered worthy of home health care or nursing home care by the doctors and insurance. (I do live with him but I work full time and one person is not nearly enough for the care he needs anyway, family members come over when I am at work, most of the time.) No one in the family has any funds to place him in assisted living facility or nursing home.

Vj3904 answered...

How frustrating--I know what you mean. Since your Dad's with the VA, most of them do not require that you get a referral to social worker or case manager, so just ask for these 2 parties (usually 2 different persons) for the PD or the AD services. Sometimes, they do not know non-VA services and sometimes they will know the Medicaid info. So, try one of the local PD association who will be loaded with info (APDA, PDF, PRO, etc)...and the VA PADRECC. Good luck! or tell me which VA you're at & I can give you the PADRECC contact.

Jaye answered...

The VA has funding for assisted living for WWII combat veterans. We had planned to use it but my Father has declined rapidly. I do wish you well. take care, J

Sentbarbe answered...

The key for assistance as stated in the article is how much money the patient has, not how little the caregiver has. If the parents have too much money, there is no program to pay for caregivers other than the parents own assets. Some states pay for caregivers, some states don't, but it's all based on the patient's assets. The state medicaid office has the answer.

Jeneration answered...

From this list of questions and answers I can see others see this as being about as backwards as it can be. My parents are 90 and 92 and I moved in to take care of them following my dad falling resulting in spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury. Brought him home from a 2 month hospital stay 2 yrs ago and have had no income since. I moved to their home to simplify things, but mom has declined some as well. They make just over too much to qualify for VA aid and dependent benefits (you can have a substantial savings, just not monthly income - they have pension but lost most savings in stocks)so while I've been their full time 24/7 caregiver, I've been unable to either have income or save for my own retirement.... I have NO PENSION! If someone has some other ideas ... I am wide open to most anything except institutionalizing them :) Blessings to all who care!!!

Somewhere along the line the amount we are SAVING medicare and Medicaid should be calculated!

Seorsa answered...

Unfortunately there is a vast amount of variety from State to State in these programs, both in their availability and how they are structured. The key difference between Medicare and Medicaid is that Medicare is the Federally mandated program, and Medicaid is a State program that operates to enhance or replace the Federal program using some or al of the dollars the State would receive. These programs are called Waiver programs because eStates must get their programs approved by the Feds, and they do this under various waivers, usually referred to by the federal code section that the waiver is approved under. For example California has an 1115J Waiver program. THe name is absolute non-sense to anyone who is not in the field.

The trick to navigating this is identifying local access (or access point) to resources, which is what the article tries to do for you by providing some links. In many states you may also call 211 from any telephone or cell phone. The most common access point is an Area Agency on Aging, or triple A as they are referred to. These agencies are often held with County government services, which can usually be accessed by telephone or the web. You can also visit www.211.org and start by entering your zip code, or your parent's zip code should you live apart.

Here are some tips: If you are making the call, make sure you have all of your parent's information written down, such as their full name, address, phone number social security number, medicare/medicaid and other insurance information. If your parents are able to make this call , make sure you are there to assist them, and write down any key points to likely questions. Most of these programs require a specific level of financial need. If your parents have assets that disqualify them, have them use them to pay you a fair wage until they fall below the level required for the program. NEVER transfer assets directly to other family members, this could be a serious crime. If you have any doubts seek legal counsel. Once your parents meet the means test there will be some form of an assessment of their needs, referred to Activities of Daily Living (ADL's). Seek information about they types of limitations they are experiencing, the frequency, and what it is like on their very worst day. *Some states will allow peole with slightly higher incomes on the program at a slightly higher share of cost.

THe types of programs the article refers to could save billions of dollars, but are often too small or obscure because the system is biased towards nursing homes and other care facilities. THese facilities make significant amounts of money, and usually end up getting all of the funds associated with a person who is low income. These homes have staff that are members of powerful national unions, and are run by large and profitable corporations. It is almost always cheaper to keep people in their homes (average$9K per year) than a nursing facility (average $45K per year). You may find that it is necessary to find a number of programs like meals on wheels, bag lunch and food bank resources to make ends meet.

A large study by the Kaiser Health Foundation found that people who are able to live in their homes live longer, healthier and happier lives. They also incur significantly less medical cost. But there is a downside: another study by the Kaiser Health Foundation (or possibly the RWJ Foundation) found that care givers caring for terminally ill family members had significantly compromised their help by the time the family member died.

So remember to take care of yourself, seek resources such as Adult Day Health Care, respite care, and help from others so that you truly enjoy the time caring for your family as much as you can.

A fellow caregiver answered...

This is the service I used to get help for my mother who has Alzehimer. I can hire caregivers or I could be paid as the caregiver. I work with my mother's social security office. This website has a map and you can click on it to see if you state offers the service: https://www.publicpartnerships.com//index.asp

Aaronainbinder answered...

Medicaid is the answer if the care recipient and the family caregiver are willing to give up the recipient's home when they die. I am my Mom's sole caregiver since she had a stroke one year ago. I quit working to do this, since full-time care would have cost more than I was making. I do this work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and have done so since last June. It is now April 2014.

In a nutshell, this is what is required in order for my Mom to qualify for Medicaid:

1 - no more than $2,000 in liquid assets. This includes cash in bank, checking account and investments.

2 - Mom can still own, and live in, the home that she has been in for 50+ years. HOWEVER: When Mom dies, the government sells the house and keeps the proceeds in order to offset any expenditures incurred by Medicaid. This is absolutely contrary to what Mom would have wanted.

3 - there is a 5-year waiting period should Mom transfer the title of the house, or her assets, to me so that she would qualify for Medicaid and other financial assistance.

That is a thumbnail sketch of what I have found after many hours of phone calls and emails. Every single government and private Jewish agency (I am Jewish, so this is where my focus has been) which I have contacted directs me towards government dependence and Medicaid, which require that the recipient, and eventually the full-time family caregiver, become destitute before qualifying.

I have had to spiritually surrender to the fact that this is the financial situation at hand. It makes no sense at all when a family member, such as myself (or any one else who is in like position) has quit working in order to provide full-time care for, in my case, an elderly and infirm parent. Assuming that Mom lives for several years, I will be broke when she dies. If I spent down her assets enough to qualify for Medicaid caregivers for her, our government would spend more on her care than I have sought as her caregiver. My goal, please G-d, is to keep Mom at home until the end of her days.

I have looked for even as little as $2,000 per month from the agencies, governmental and Jewish, so that I can continue to cover incidental personal expenses and not be destitute when Mom dies. I have looked in vain. Trust in G-d and watch your spending, folks.