Simple STEPS to get paid for Caring for an Elderly Parent

Caring for your elderly parents is one of the most humbling and noble jobs. Some people have had to quit their jobs, move houses, and make other notable adjustments to take care of seniors. In contemporary America, you can get compensated for this selfless job. It is important to note that not all people caring for their elderly parents are eligible for compensation. Although there are different programs and options to get this compensation, certain criteria must be met. So, how do you get paid for caring for an elderly parent? This article will look at the different programs and how they work. From the options discussed, you will decide the program that is relevant to your family’s situation.

Medicaid Options

Medicaid is [1] the most common program that Americans use to get compensated for being a caregiver to their aging parents. Not everyone qualifies for this program. Instead, there are certain eligibility criteria that you must meet, and the program has rules that govern who is permitted to become the primary caregiver. Initially, the Medicaid program paid for nursing care, but the rules have since changed, and care can be offered in the elderly’s primary location of residence. Today, there are four different Medicaid program options, but not all are available in all states. We will explore the four options below.

HCBS Waivers

Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) waivers are also known as 1915 or Section 1115 waivers. In this type, the state pays for care and support services for older adults who do not reside in a nursing home. It offers compensation for care activities that include dressing, eating, mobility, and other daily living activities. It also offers compensation for chore services. In this option, the beneficiaries get the chance to choose from whom they get these services in what is called the “Consumer Direction” feature. The senior can choose their adult child to receive the compensation. Usually, the amount compensated ranges from $9.00 to $19.25 per hour, depending on the state.

Medicaid Personal Care Services

The Medicaid Personal Care Services plan is also known as Medicaid State Plan, and it is under the regular Medicaid Program. This is an entitlement program, meaning that everyone who meets the eligibility criteria should receive benefits, so there are no waiting lists. In this option, the elderly get to choose their caregiver to whom the money is sent. They can choose their adult child, and the amount paid is on a per-hour basis. Before one is enrolled in this program, experts visit the senior’s home and conduct an assessment. They determine how many hours a week the senior needs care services. This information guides the states on the amount of money to be sent to the adult child every week.

In some states, the Medicaid Personal Care Services plan is also known as Personal Assistance Services, Personal Care Assistance, Personal Attendants, or Attendance Care.

Medicaid Caregiver Exemption

The Medicaid Caregiver Exemption is sometimes called the Child Caregiver Exception. Unlike the other two options discussed above, the adult child is compensated indirectly. To qualify for this program, your family must provide some background information to determine if you are eligible. In most states, the eligibility of seniors is based on their assets and income. The home in which the senior resides is an exempt asset, but it is no longer an exempt asset if the older person moves out of the house.

If your elderly parent passes away, the state can acquire the home or part of the home’s value as reimbursement for caring for the elderly. This is called Medicaid Estate Recovery. In the Medicaid Caregiver Exemption, the adult child who is the primary caregiver for their aging parent can inherit the senior’s home instead of the state acquiring it. For this to happen, the child must reside in the home with their aging parent as the primary caregiver for at least two years. They must also provide good-quality care, similar to what is offered in nursing homes. They must also present valid documents to prove that they are the primary caregivers. The amount the adult child receives is based on the home’s value and their elderly parent’s equity in the same property.

Adult Foster Care

Adult Foster Care is only available in some states. In this program, an adult child is allowed to become the adult foster carer for their parents. Therefore, the elderly parent moves into their adult child’s home. The child becomes the primary caregiver, and they are responsible for offering personal care and assistance with daily activities. Medicaid continues funding the parent’s medical expenses, and the child receives compensation for their care services.

It is necessary to note that the compensation does not include room and boarding. In some states, additional financial assistance is provided by the state to the beneficiaries in adult foster care. The additional funding is for accommodation and boarding services. In simple terms, this means that funding for the Adult Foster Care service comes from two sources; Medicaid and the State. The state’s monthly funding is between $1,550 and $2,550.

Programs for Veterans

Veterans have special programs [2] that compensate primary caregivers.

Veterans Directed Home & Community Based Services (VD-HCBS)

VD-HCBS is also known as Veterans Directed Care, and this option is strictly available for veterans who are enrolled in the VA health care system. The beneficiaries should also require nursing home-like care. In this program, veterans get to choose the location in which they will receive care services. They are at liberty to choose whomever they want, including their adult children. The caregiver they choose is paid hourly, and the Veterans Health Administration sets the rate. The amount is reviewed annually and may vary depending on the region. The normal hourly compensation rate is between $8.44 and $20.00. At the local level, VD-HCBS is run by VA Medical Centers.

Veterans Aid and Attendance & House-bound Pensions

The Aid & Attendance and Housebound benefits program is for wartime veterans and their husbands or wives. The veterans can be used to pay caregivers for their aging parents. The amount of compensation is usually $1,830 per month per person.

Other Options

If you do not qualify for compensation via Medicaid or the veterans’ programs, do not fret. There are alternative options that you can explore.

State Based Programs (Non-Medicaid)

Most American states have nursing home diversion plans and state-funded programs [3] and are strictly designed to assist older adults receiving care at home. These adults are not necessarily covered under the Medicaid program. Some of these state-funded programs allow seniors to choose their primary caregivers, and they can choose their adult kids instead of professional caregivers. The compensation varies depending on the state and the geographic area.

State-based compensation programs are not available in all American states. Some also limit the consumer direction to non-family members, and the eligibility is normally based on each senior’s financial resources.

Life Insurance

American seniors with life insurance policies typically get a death benefit with a minimum value of $50,000. This amount can be used to pay adult children to care for their elderly parents. Getting compensation from a life insurance company is a complicated process, but many people have successfully followed it and succeeded.

In this compensation plan, the senior parent should engage in a life settlement; that is, they authorize the sale of their life settlement to a 3rd party while they are still alive. The buyer should pay the senior an agreed lump sum amount before taking over the monthly premiums. When the senior passes away, the adult child (buyer) receives the full death benefit.

Paid Family Leave (PFL)

PFL is a plan that allows adult children to take time off work to care for their aging parents. They continue to receive their salary and are protected by the laws of the land from being fired or losing health insurance. The amount can either be full or a large percentage of it. Usually, the paid family leaves last between 4 and 12 weeks. The leave can be taken on non-consecutive days, and multiple siblings can take PFL if they reside in the same state.

Although PFL is an excellent program, it is not available in all states, so you should confirm your state’s laws before choosing this option. This plan works best if your elderly parent needs short-term care or assistance.

Tax Credits and Deductions

In tax credits and tax reductions, adult children do not receive direct payment for working as caregivers for their elderly parents. Instead, the programs decrease their tax burden, which allows them to have more money than they ordinarily would. The extra money becomes their compensation.

Remote Work

Since PFL is a short-term arrangement, more employers are now allowing people to telecommute. Some adult caregivers are allowed to work from home as they also care for their elderly parents. This option is not always feasible, especially if the parent requires full-time care.

Conclusion

Caring for an elderly parent is an expensive ordeal because you have to pay for prescription medications, medical supplies, home modifications, and so much more. Fortunately, some programs compensate adult children for taking care of their old and ailing parents. The amount of money you receive depends on the program and the approved rates. The cash goes a long way towards relieving your financial burden as your senior parent’s primary caregiver. Different compensation plans exist, and it is your responsibility to choose one that works best for your situation.

Citations

  1. https://www.payingforseniorcare.com/paid-caregiver/elderly-parents#
  2. https://www.aplaceformom.com/caregiver-resources/articles/how-to-become-a-paid-family-caregiver
  3. https://dailycaring.com/getting-paid-as-a-family-caregiver-3-government-benefits-programs/
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