Can I get paid to care for a family member?

We receive hundreds of calls every year from family and friends asking, “How can I get paid to care?” These caregivers aren’t asking for a handout, they are simply trying to find a way to make ends meet while dedicating their time to caregiving. Unfortunately, very few programs pay family members or friends on a regular basis to provide care. Medicare (government health insurance for people age 65 and older) does not pay for long-term care services, such as in-home care and adult day services, whether or not such services are provided by a direct care worker or a family member. Sometimes, however, caregiving families may obtain financial relief for specific purposes, such as for respite care or to purchase goods and services, and in some cases, pay for caregiving. In some states there are programs that pay family members to provide care to those receiving Medicaid (government health insurance for low-income people — this program may go by a different name in your state). And in a very few states there are programs available to those who do not qualify for Medicaid. NOTE: These programs vary widely, often with complicated criteria for eligibility.

 

Steps to Consider:

  1. Use FCA’s Service by State tool to find resources in your state. Check out the section “Caregiver Compensation” for agencies that have programs that enable the care recipient to hire a family member to care for them.
  2. Your local Area Agency on Aging may be able to provide information on whether or not your state’s Medicaid program will pay a family member to provide care to a Medicaid recipient. Your Area Agency on Aging also manages the federally-supported program for family caregivers that can help ease the financial burden of caregiving to a person age 60 and older, or under 60 with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. Program services include: information and assistance; counseling and support groups; education and training; respite care to give you a break; and supplemental services, including the purchase of consumable supplies, emergency response systems, and home modifications. To find your Area Agency on Aging, visit the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (N4A) and enter your city and state, or zip code, to find your local office.
  3. Your state may offer additional support programs for family caregivers. The American Elder Care Research Organization provides a listing of state Medicaid and non-Medicaid programs with consumer direction. (Consumer direction allows the Medicaid recipient to determine who will be paid, including a family member.) As well, you may wish to try their Paid Caregiver Program Locator to locate potential programs.
  4. Disease-specific organizations, such as CancerCare, may offer grants or other financial assistance to people with the disease and their family caregivers. For more information about these organizations visit national resources on FCA’s Family Care Navigator and click Disease-Specific Organizations.
  5. County Veterans Service Officers provide assistance in obtaining veterans benefits and answer questions regarding rules and regulations concerning veterans and survivors of veterans. National Association of County Veteran Service Officers (NACVSO) has an online locator that will direct you to your County Veteran Service Office or the Department of Veteran Affairs.

Additional Resources:

Join FCA CareNav, a secure online service for quality information, support, and resources tailored to your caregiving situation.

Call FCA’s toll-free number (800-445-8106) and leave a message for our national intake and resource specialist. Calls are returned in the order received.

Benefits Checkup www.benefitscheckup.org

An online service of the National Council on Aging to help older adults and their families find and enroll in federal, state, local, and private benefit programs.

Eldercare Locator eldercare.acl.gov

Connects older Americans (60+) and their caregivers with the local Area Agency on Aging’s Family Caregiver Support Program, state Medicaid program, and community-based organizations.