Can I get paid to be a caregiver in Mississippi?

Brina38732 asked...

I am trying to see if the state of Mississippi have a program that will pay me for being my mom caretaker. She had a stroke and is not able to walk or use her right side, and the doctor say she can not be left alone at anytime.So that mean I can not any go look for work.

Expert Answer

Mississippi has a special Medicaid-related program -- called the Elderly and Disabled Waiver Program[] -- operated by the state's Bureau of Long term Care, that can help low-income elders who want to remain living at home instead of in a nursing facility. To qualify for this program, your mother would have to meet the financial eligibility requirements (low income and few assets other than her home). Also, her physical or mental condition would have to require nursing facility level care for her. This program provides many different kinds of assistance for qualifying elders -- such as free adult day care, home-delivered meals, homemakers, and "respite care, in which someone other than the regular caregiver provides care for a short time while the regular caregiver gets a break.

The Elderly and Disabled Waiver Program include a "freedom of choice" clause, sometimes referred to as "consumer direction," which allows participants to choose their home care providers from an approved list. It might be possible for you to qualify yourself -- with some minimal training -- as an approved provider, meaning that your mother could then hire you to help care for her, with the program paying you. Be aware, though, that the program is very cautious about paying family members, and even if you were approved, the number of hours of care you might get paid for would be extremely limited.

The Mississippi Department of Human Services, Division of Aging & Adult Services, also operates a separate program just to help family caregivers like you. The Mississippi Family Caregiver Support Program[] (601-359-4929) can provide several very helpful services that can make your difficult job a little easier, including:

  • Information about services that are available to help provide care

  • Assistance in getting access to those services

  • Counseling, support groups, and training to help the caregiver make decisions and solve caregiving problems

  • Respite care, providing temporary relief from caregiving responsibilities

  • Some supplemental caregiving services

You should contact both of these programs to see about your mother's and your eligibility for them. Even if it turns out that you cannot get paid directly to care for your mother, you might find that some of the other services the programs offer can greatly help you and your mother.