Caregiving is a burden under normal circumstances—and for many families, the pandemic has only made things more difficult. A recent AARP study found that almost one in five Americans provide unpaid care for another adult. The same percentage reported high levels of financial strain from caregiving, and it’s easy to see why: AARP reports you may spend $7,000 to $12,700 of your own money on caregiving every year.
With some adult day programs shutting down, family members have taken over, which has resulted in a loss of income for some. If you have cut back on work to take care of a family member, you may be curious about the possibility of getting paid for your hard work.
Programs for Medicaid recipients
As AARP reports, it may be possible to get paid through Medicaid—a government healthcare program that covers long-term care expenses for low-income Americans. Depending on where you live, it may be possible to skip in-home care from an agency and hire a family member. Every state has different benefits and eligibility, though—like exclusions for spouses or legal guardians—so you should contact your state for the rules.
Programs for military veterans
If your family member is a military veteran, you may have another four options to choose from—Veteran Directed Care, Aid and Attendance (A&A) benefits, Housebound benefits, or Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers. You should contact the Veteran Affairs Caregivers Support Line at (855) 260-3274 for more details.
Prepare to work for a family member
Getting paid to care for a family member may seem like an ideal scenario—but there are a few things to consider before you begin. AARP recommends working with an elder care attorney to draft a personal care agreement. This contract should outline the specifics of your duties, compensation, and the length of the engagement. Try to include other family members in the process, like your siblings, if possible.
You should also talk about respite care, which may offer short-term relief from caregiving duties, along with a plan for your sick days. Family caregiving may take a lot more time and energy than you expect, so it’s critical to prioritize your own self-care. As AARP’s study reports, 23% of Americans say caregiving has made their own health worse.