Can we pay my sibling to care for Mom?

5 answers | Last updated: Nov 04, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

Mom had a stroke and is now unable to live alone. She wants to stay at home she must have 24/7 help. If this is one of the siblings is it appropriate to pay them (as we would a service) to live with her under a personal care agreement? If she then depletes her money and has to "spend down" will the money paid for her care have to be paid back? Paying a sibling would be much less than 24/7 care through an agency and more trustworthy and reliable.

Expert Answers

Paying an adult child to care for a parent is a perfectly legitimate use of a parent's funds, as long as the parent agrees. In order for the payment to be considered legitimate by Medicaid -- if your mother someday applies for Medicaid benefits -- the care must be legitimately performed and the rate of pay must be in line with what private caregivers are paid in the area where your mother lives. If your mother agrees to this arrangement, it would be a very good idea for her and the sibling who'll be providing the care to draw up a personal care agreement that sets out the terms of the arrangement, including the duties and amount of care, regular hours, and pay.

This written personal care agreement can help in a number of ways. It can make and keep things clear between your mother and the sibling who's providing the care, about what the sibling is supposed to do, and how often. This can also reduce conflict between siblings, who can sometimes squabble about which ones are and are not spending time and energy providing care. The agreement can also provide the evidence your mother may need, if and when she runs out of funds and applies for Medicaid coverage of home care, that she has spent her money on care from the sibling and not merely given it as a gift. If Medicaid is satisfied that your mother "spent down" her assets on legitimate care, that money will not be counted as part of your mother's assets when Medicaid determines her eligibility. (By the way, Medicaid can deny someone's eligibility for awhile if Medicaid believes the person has given money away just to qualify for Medicaid benefits, but Medicaid has no authority to order the person who now has the money to pay the money back.)

Community Answers

Deborah jean answered...

There is a hidden VA financial resource available to our veterans and their surviving spouses that can represent over $23,000 annually to help pay for care. The VA's Improved Pension is a 3-tier Pension Benefit that includes Basic, Housebound, and Aid and Attendance.

This little known VA Pension has been an entitlement for 58 years sitting idle. The veteran does not have to been injured during his service as this is a Pension and not disability. Currently there are over 2 million widows alone missing out simply because they don't know about it.

As the daughter of a WWII veteran I discovered the pension at the passing of my dad. I applied on behalf of my mom as his widow, and she was awarded the Pension. Had we known during the 9 years they were both in assisted care they would have received over $160,000 to offset the costs of their care.

I launched 4 years ago with the hope of making a difference for another son or daughter while honoring the sacrifice of service.

The site is the most respected resource on the subject of Aid and Attendance. I hope this information will make a difference for someone you love.

Respectfully, Debbie Burak Founder

Shirleebruce answered...

have you and your family tried hospice. until recently i thought hospice was only for the dying. to my suprise they are also for the living. my mom has alzheimer, and they have been a God send. from the social worker, case managers, and nurses. this is a service that is covered by medicare. i would recommend them even if only for a short period of time.

A fellow caregiver answered...

does the state of california have a plan where they pay the relative/caregiver a monthly check for 24/7 care of my mother, age ninety? my CPA said there is such a program available. please respond asap. 831 818-5380 stephen r.smith oldest son, unemployed age 56 sincerely, mr. smith

Deborah jean answered...

Is your mother the widow of a veteran? If so, you may want to look at the Improved Pension she might be entitled to through the VA. Visit to learn more.