Will Medicare pay for a family caregiver?

14 answers | Last updated: Apr 07, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My mother in-law is 80 years-old and she is home-bound on oxygen. She is also unable to care for herself without assistance. Will Medicare pay for her granddaughter to be her caregiver? I know that Medicaid will pay for such an arrangement, but I was wondering about Medicare.

Expert Answers

Unfortunately, Medicare does not have any program to pay a family caregiver. Medicare has only limited coverage for home care, and when it does cover home care it does so through a Medicare-certified home health care agency. It does not pay independent caregivers, family or otherwise.

In many states, Medicaid has a program to directly pay a person needing home care, and that person can turn around and use the money to pay a family member (or anyone else) to provide that care. But even if your mother-in-law does not qualify for Medicaid -- because her income or assets are a bit too high -- she might still qualify for such a direct payment program. That's because in many states eligibility for these programs is extended to people who have low income and assets though not low enough to qualify for Medicaid.

These payments work through a state program, called Cash and Counseling or other similar name, often run through the state's Medicaid program. To learn more about these cash assistance programs -- not all states have them -- go to the page on this site called How to Get Paid for Being Your Parent's Caregiver. If your mother-in-law's state has a Cash and Counseling or similar state cash assistance program, you can get information about it at a local Medicaid office. To find a local Medicaid office, contact the Eldercare Locator by phone toll-free at 800-677-1116, or online you can go to any search engine and type in "Medicaid" and the name of the state.

SEE ALSO: Find In-Home Care Help Near You

Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

the government really sucks, I had to quit my job to take care of my husband, he is paralized, has diabetis, and heart problems, he has open wounds on his legs, I do it all myself, and we are living on his social security, he is 62 and Im 60. sure you can get help, from the county or state, like home health care, but then the rest of the benifits go away, like the cathathers, and meds, I would rather do it myself, than to loose what he has now, we rent, and I will not put him in a home,,,, Im very discusted with what the ogv, are doing to the elderly, no one at anytime in their lives, asked to be disabled.......

A fellow caregiver answered...

Why don't you get a heath care service to help you during the day. His medicare and medicaid will pay for the service. It is a great help. Check with social services in your city. They will give you the information.

Cmacp answered...

To Anonymous; Any medical care program beyond 100 days in a skilled facility, is covered--- or not covered , by State medicaid programs. I understand your frustration. Medicaid varies from State to State and most States are cutting their programs now and making qualifying more difficult. Anonymous (above) is incorrect about Medicare paying for in-home health care beyond a couple months - maximum. Medicare has clear guidelines regarding how long someone can stay in a hospital, at which point they must be transferred to a Skilled facility for his care, and once in the Skilled facility, Medicare only pays a maximum of 100 days. After the 1st 20 days, the patient is responsible for 20% of each day's bill. I brought my husband home mid Dec 2009. He had a limited # of home therapy visits and home nurse visits. By mid March, ALL medicare help ceased under his initial 9/09 "event". If you need additional care, you must apply and qualify under your State's medicaid programs. These vary from State to State. All State's are required to provide for a few federally mandated groups, like SSI (welfare) and children in poverty. That's it. If you qualify for in-home help, it depends on how generous your State is.

I have been saying for 3 years that I would never put my husband in a home either, but I think I am going to be force to do so. I am very sad about this. We have over $10,000 uncovered medical bills - uncovered by Medicare, and I have to work or loose our home. His medication costs put us in the donut hole by March each year because they retail at $1,400 a month. He can't get down the stairs to see his doctors anymore. Our State's in home help program would take all his check and only leave me with about $270 a month to run our household. This is not enough. I would have to work the first couple weeks of each month just to replace what we loose to the CAPS program. Plus, home health care workers are not the most reliable. If you can't leave your hubby alone all day, in home care is a problem if you need to leave for work and the health worker couldn't show up that day. I know this from experience. There is NO easy solution. And, the solutions that look easy on paper, turn out to be really different in real life. My hubby just received his approval for LTC yesterday, and I'm sad and depressed. I finally realize I can't care for him adequately at home, yet it's sad to put a 58 yr old man in a facility. Good luck and prayers to you.

Jenandabby2 answered...

I am 55 years old and disabled for 17 years due to contacting Legionaires Disease. I had been in the hoppital at least once per from 1993 to 2003. Luckily, I have been fortunate to keep my lungs and body farily good shape. I have now been diagnosed with a problem due to the amount of steroids that were given IV in mass doses to save my life. I have to have both hips and both knees replaced, as they are shattered and extremely painful.

I am a widow, and live alone. I need someone a few hours per day, just to help me stay in my home, instead of going to a rehab facility or even worse, a nursing home.

I live paycheck to paycheck, and am going to require some additional assistance. Medicare, however, doesn't have a long term care program, as this is reserved for the individuals that are receiving Medical. This is a program for the people that do not have enough credits, or made enough money for SSD and medical. I believe I deserve some additional help to come to my home after each of my surgeries, which will be about 6 months apart, and make my home life manageable. What is the answer for someone in my situation?

Messangel7 answered...

How can I get financial help for me because I can not hold a normal job and still take care of my qudropoligic father. and for things like a ramp, hand rails, Quad chair/standing frame, therapy equiptment and more to accomodate my disabled Father who now lives with me?

Daughter in need of answered...

My Mom is now living with my sister in Katrina ravaged Mississippi, both my Mom and sister have limited incomes. My sister is doing the best she can but the extra costs for Rx,food,electric (air conditioning and needed machines to make Mom comfortable)and all the other items to many to list required for Mom to exist in some comfort. What help can she get either finacially and or in home help to relieve her of some of the stress of caring for Mom on her own

Jade1961 answered...

Joseph L. Matthews makes some very valid points in his answer.

I am disabled and have been for quite sometime, however, about 7yrs ago it was evident that I had two choices in my life. I am still quite young so I didn't like either of them so I went with the lesser of the "evils". My first option was to be placed in a nursing home with round the clock care. (NO WAY!). The second was called The (insert State here) Independence Waiver Program. This program allows me to remain in my home with my husband and son. I have a care giver who comes for 47hrs a week and a 20hr a week companion aid on the weekends. The lady who works during the week was required to have her CNA or LPN license, here is where it got a bit gooey. The lady I chose had just graduated from her LPN training. She has still, after 3 years not taken her NCLEX. I am now forced to fire her on the grounds that she did not follow through on her end of the contract. I had to be delicate in this situation as she loves to have a good bar brawl & usually has her sisters/cousins/friends help her. This frightened me, all I could think was if I fire her she is going to turn up and harm me. Well, I fired her anyway. I have alerted the police in the area that I am disabled & had to let a violent caregiver go so I feel unsafe. They are going to keep special watch over my home while I adapt to another caregiver. If you are fortunate to find a good caregiver in your area and have Medicare or Medical Assistance you can get this type of coverage in your home. I hope that maybe through personal experience I have helped you. Independence is a difficult thing to lose & when you have a quality healthcare professional providing care for you ... well, life is just ... easier. God Bless you in your search for answers, I will keep you in my prayers.

Sfnina answered...

The information provided about medicare does clear-up confusion I had as I was seeking help for family caregivers being paid.

In Ohio I have been looking for a program that will pay a family member to take care of elderly or disable love ones.

The new program is called, Consumer-Directed Personal Care Providers. It took effect on March 17, 2011. They are still working on the directives of the program the lady at PassPort told me. And should be operational this month or next.

This program has been added to the PassPort Medicaid Waiver Program. So you would have to have Medicaid.

You would have to go to the Ohio Department of Aging under the PassPort services section, and ask about the program that will pay a family member to take care of their family members at home care.

Once again,it is called Consumer-Directed Personal Care Providers, that is ran under the PassPort - Medicaid Waiver Program, and the Ohio Department of Aging is where the information was posted and PassPort is its Administrative officers [Kinda thing] for Cuyahoga and Summit Counties and few other Northeast ohio counties; Geauga, Lake, Lorain and Medina Counties.

It is located at;

925 Euclid Avenue#600 Cleveland, Ohio 44115 1-800-626-7277 www.psa10a.org

try: http://aging.ohio.gov/services/passport/passportadministrativeagencies.aspx

Hoping this was helpful.


A fellow caregiver answered...

My mother is elderly and unable to care for herself without assistance. She has medicare A & B and UMWA health insurance. I have been trying to get help to care for her during the day so i am able to keep my job. unfortunately, my findings are that if you have worked hard all your life and never needed to get any assistance from the state such as welfare and Medicaid there is no help offered other than 6 weeks from medicare and then they fight you tooth and nail for that six weeks. I guess elderly parents will get much better in the 6 weeks allowed by medicare. Because my mom is retired in order for me to get any in home health care we will have to pay the healthcare worked from any agency at least $9 per hour out of our pocket and the agency picks up the remaining. Once again if you are on Medicaid all of these services are free......for people that work the system. Just frustrated for the elderly folks that have worked and not relied on the welfare system to take care of them their whole life. If anyone has anhy ideas of how to get daily in home health care for people of medicare wihtout them having to pay out of their pocket please let me know. It takes everything for medications etc..... Any information will be greatly appreciated.

A fellow caregiver answered...

Caregivers are paid such a low wage, 8.00 an hour, and can't get reliable constant work, so there may be your problem in having one show up on time. They live in poverty themselves.

A fellow caregiver answered...

Just an fyi. ..... If a caregiver chooses to loose a job over getting their LPN or CNA, something is extremely wrong! If she (actually) completed the LPN program, she should have took the test for CNA after the first semester of the LPN program. ...but the fact that she likes to "bar brawl" might have stopped her from getting licensed thru any state. Remember to do background checks!!!

A fellow caregiver answered...

Sometimes it feels like the only answer is to commit a crime so you will be cared for. Our govt appears to value people who won't work, criminals, politicians, and illegal aliens more than our seniors. If you work and are on social security, you usually make too much to qualify for any government aid. Handicapped accessible housing is only available to the low income, at least where I live. Our country's values are screwed up.

Up the spout answered...

I live in queens County, NYC, am 61 years' old and have been taking care of my disabled mother since 2010 because of numerous orthopedic surgeries (she is 91). She refused to have "anybody" else come into the house or to take care of her, so I had to quit my job and devote myself to her care. Now, my aunt (her 88 year-old, never married sister) who has refused all help from me to get her own house and medical issues in order for the past 5 years, has ended up in rehab and I alone am left to pay out $20,000 of my life savings' to get her bedbug infested, hoarded, cluttered home in safe and livable conditions. She is to be discharged from rehab to my care at our house until her house is made safe and livable again. I called NYC Adult Protective Services who basically said if her care can be paid for then they have no authority. She has money but will not part with a cent of it. I hate to say it, but I have been fed up with my mother's side of the family feels it is my duty as the last remaining relative to take of the family. I go to bed at night praying that I will not wake up so that I may escape from this burden. Morally I know I should take care of Mom and my aunt, but what do NYS filial laws say?