People looking after an aging parent (or any other loved one) are often forced to leave their jobs or at least settle for a reduced income due to unpaid leaves and extra costs. Taking care of an elderly person is a full-time commitment because of how dependant they are on their caregivers; meaning caregiver need to be present at all times.
The reduced income and other sacrifices lead many to ask if it’s possible to get paid as a caregiver.
Yes, it is possible to get paid as a family caregiver but the options are limited. Family caregivers can be compensated for their services provided they meet the criteria for the available programs.
In the US, under some programs,family caregivers qualify for a stipend or an hourly wage. Don’t expect to get rich working as a family caregiver but you can definitely get paid enough to relieve you from some of added costs you have to bear.
Medicaid beneficiaries are allowed to hire their own caregivers and in some states, they are permitted to hire family members as their caregivers.
It should be noted that Medicaid eligibility, benefits, and provisions vary from state to state. Some states will not pay spouses or legal guardians for caring for a loved one while others will only pay family caregivers if they live in a separate house to the dependant loved one.
In 37 states in the US along with Washington DC and Puerto Rico, veterans qualify for Veteran Directed Home and Community Based Care. The program is for veterans of all ages who are enlisted in the Veterans Health Administration and require the level of care provided by a nursing home but wish to remain in their homes.
Veterans are given a budget of about $2,500 per month which they use for the goods and services they need, including caregivers. Under this program, the caregiver can be any healthy family member; spouses and grandchildren also qualify.
Getting paid directly from the family member
You also have the option of getting paid directly by the family member if they are mentally sound (capable of making financial decisions) and have the financial ability.
The lines are blurred when working with a family member so it’s best to formalize the process. Draw up a contract; include a clear hourly wage and how off-days will be handled. Have it reviewed by a lawyer to ensure it meets tax requirements. In case of any disagreements, consider going to family therapy with your loved one to settle any differences.
For more information on getting paid as a family caregiver or advice on looking after a loved one, get in touch with us at The Global Caregiver. With our resources, seminars and counseling for caregivers, we make sure you have the support system you need to be the best caregiver for your loved one.
We are well-aware of the sacrifices you’re making and are here to help!