What paperwork is needed for a live-in caregiver?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 07, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

We have a care provider who is willing to provide stay over assistance for our two aging parents in return for room and board. What paper work, legally do we need to make sure we complete on the care provider? (workers comp., FICA, liability insurance???) We were told that the rules that apply to bartering would apply here---we have not been successful in finding any one site/source that can tell us what rules and procedures we need to follow for this arrangement.

Expert Answers

Merrily Orsini, MSSW, was a pioneer in the business of providing geriatric care managed in-home care. She currently serves on the board of the National Association for Home Care and Hospice and is Chair of the Private Duty Homecare Association. She holds a master's degree in social work and is a nationally known writer and speaker on aging, elder issues, and in-home care.

There really is no one site source for rules governing an in-home caregiver because, according to Bob King, Esq., a recent presenter at the Private Duty Homecare Association Conference, "it's literally impossible to answer unless you know what state the person is from. I say this because in addition to federal paperwork, there's also state paperwork that needs to be completed, and obviously that varies by state. "

Attorney King goes on to say, "However there's also a greater issue here. At least in California (and I believe under federal law as well), the employer cannot solely trade room and board for work. The employer must pay at least minimum wage for all work performed. Admittedly, in some states with a wage higher than the federal minimum wage the employer can offset the minimum wage by the value of the room and board (within limits), but that typically will not cover paying for all the hours worked at the minimum wage."

Please consult an attorney before entering into any agreement. You can reach Bob King at www.legallynanny.com.

There are also several services that provide household employee payment. Two that I know of personally are www.breedlove-online.com and www.4nannytaxes.com.

I also STRONGLY caution you to check background, references, and history of anyone who, in this day and age, is willing to work as an in-home caregiver for room and board. Double check for gaps in employment or history as well, and insist that you speak with references who can vouch for this person.