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Does Medicare compensate a full time family caregiver?

9 answers | Last updated: Mar 15, 2015
A fellow caregiver asked...

My father is 60, has Vascular Dementia, has had 6 small strokes, Congestive heart failure, and his Myodisplasia just turned to Leukemia. He has Medicare A, B, and D. In order to prevent him from living out the rest of his life in a nursing home, I am going to quit working, move him into my home, and become his full time caretaker. This is a financial hardship for my family but something we must do. Does Medicare provid any financial compensation for a family member who gives up their income in order to provide full-time in home health care for their permanantly disabled loved one???


Caring.com User - Joseph L.  Matthews
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Joseph L. Matthews is a Caring.com Expert, an attorney, and the author of Long-Term Care: How to Plan & Pay for It and...
79% helpful
A fellow caregiver answered...

Medicare does not pay anything to a family caregiver. However, if your father has a low income and few assets, he might qualify for Medicaid See also:
Older Family Members Don't Have Enough Money? New Tool Helps You Find Financial Benefits

See all 176 questions about Financial Assistance for Seniors
. If so, a program run by Medicaid in your state might be able to pay your father directly to pay for his home care, which he could then use to pay you. In some states, this kind of cash assistance is possible even for people who have slightly too much income or assets to qualify for Medicaid.

This arrangement works through a state program called Cash and Counseling, or a similar program. Normally, Medicaid pays for regular home care and 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 a home care agency. The person needing care can spend these funds 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.

The catch is that your state has to be offering this Cash and Counseling or similar state program. To find out more about these cash assistance programs, go to the page on this site called How to Get Paid for Being Your Parent's Caregiver. You can help your father 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 online you can go to any search engine and type in the word Medicaid and the name of your state.


More Answers
A fellow caregiver answered...

Don't be so quick to quit your job. Look into Adult Day Care programs in your community. I take care of my father, whom I moved into my home 6 years ago, and taking him to daycare allows me to keep my full time job. I just drop him off on my way to work and pick him up on the way home. Some insurance will pay part or all. Call your local Alzheimers Association. Definitely worth looking into.


A fellow caregiver answered...

Was thinking of this question too. Agree with DutifulDaughter about don't be so quick to quit your job. I retired early and sometimes wish I hadnt since am making lots less. We planned for it by making paying off the house a priority before I retired. Thankful my husband still works.


50% helpful
A fellow caregiver answered...

I work and care for both mom and dad. Mom has dimentia and Dad on oxygen for emphesema. Dad is an ex veteran. They have a good income from retirement. I know they have to much to qualify for medicaid. They both have medicare and tricare for life. Almost all their income goes on bills they have. Credit cards etc. I would like to stay home and care for them both. How can I get financial help for my own bills?


67% helpful
A fellow caregiver answered...

In some states, you can petition the court for conservatorship or guardianship of a parent and get approval for that parent's estate to pay you a professional fee for your service. However, check your state laws because in many states, a family member is expressly prohibited from taking fees for services or even rental and food expenses, even though a perfect stranger would be entitled to payment for the very same services to your parent. (The law is intended to prevent unscrupulous children from "using" their unwitting parents as ATM machines, but it prevents honorable children from being even nominally reimbursed for a portion of the incremental cost of caring for parents.) Be careful though to research your state law because conservatorhsip or guardianship can mean the gov't is really in charge of your relationship with your parent, and the state will dictate what costs you can/can't be reimbursed for regardless of your parent's wishes (even if they were documented in writing long ago before the dementia). And you have to retain a lawyer and pay ongoing legal fees every year. In most cases, I don't recommend conservatorship especially if your siblings are getting along amicably with what you're doing - it's better to work things out without getting into the legal system which just drains resources out of the estate. Bottom line - do the reearch to educate yourself before making any decisions and stay out of the court system if you can.


50% helpful
A fellow caregiver answered...

I'm 28yrs old, my Mom is going to be 52 this month and she's legally fully disabled; I've been her full-time caregiver since I was coming into my teenage years and I've spent the past 8 yrs fighting tooth n' nail w/ the system. She's been denied Medicaid b/c she makes $1.00 too much prior to taxes, I kid you not and they REFUSE to make an exception.Roughly 2yrs ago my Grandfather passed away after suffering a stroke from a yr prior that ultimately advanced his Alzheimer and Parkinson... I was taking care of them both while putting my younger brother through pilot school. I refuse to give up the fight, I may not be able to bring a penny in but if that's going to be the case then I'll continue until the highest of the high will be irritated enough w/ me to finally grant my request. I wish you good luck, I'm an intelligent woman w/ a long list of names, numbers, addresses, travel time and paperwork under my belt to have just recently won receiving half of my deceased step-Dad's "widow's benefits" after 4yrs of filing daily for her appeal. I wish you all good luck & if you have any helpful suggestions... I'd love just to see what I might of missed, if anything at all. =) I do know that the state of Nevada (we live in Las Vegas) is thee hardest place to receive what I'm on a quest for but the "helping hand" is far more generous in other cities and states!


100% helpful
A fellow caregiver answered...

This is for emilypinaud or anyone who is caregiver for veteran or veteran spouse. Look into the Aid and Attendance benefit. It is for the veteran and the veteran's spouse. You need a lot of documentation to start like the vet's DD214 discharge papers but they will also help you obtain the papers. Am going thru the process now and will keep you updated. It could be the answer here is web address to Senior Benefit Resources that is working with me. http://seniorbenefitresources.us/Home_Page.html