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How You Can Become a Paid Caregiver for a Family Member – Everything You Need to Know…and Probably More
Taking care of your family should always be a top priority. Becoming a caregiver when a family member can no longer care for themselves is not only very rewarding, it is also a great way to ensure that all of their needs are being met without relying on an inpatient care facility. You don’t have to worry about a caregiver not being able to show up for work or having your loved one possibly exposed to illnesses that may be brought in from other places. When you make the choice to become a primary caregiver to a loved one, there will be sacrifices you have to make that can be a significant investment. Taking proper care of a loved one takes time and patience, as you will be required to take on the daily tasks associated with your loved one’s care. For many this may require pausing their career, resulting in a loss of income. However, there is hope. You can be compensated for your time and the effort you put into being a family caregiver.
The 6-Step Process of Becoming a Paid Caregiver for a Family Member in Pennsylvania
Step #1 – Determine Eligibility for Medicaid’s Self-Directed Services Programs
When a loved one is receiving Medicaid, you may be eligible to receive financial aid from their programs, especially the Self-Directed Services programs. Medicaid.gov shows many different state plan and waiver program options for individuals who are receiving Medicaid. Most states offer these benefits, although they may have different names or are identified in other ways. The Self-Directed Service programs give older adults the opportunity to create a budget and use their funds to pay for the things they need, including their own primary caregiver. In order to find out if your family member qualifies for this type of program, you will need to contact your nearest Medicaid office.
Step #2 – Choose to Enroll in a Home/Community-Based Services Program
HCBS, or Home and Community-Based Services, provides continued support and resources to caregivers. They also offer a daily stipend that is tax-free. This can take part of the financial burden off of them if they choose to be a primary caregiver.
Individuals covered by Medicaid can apply for these services if they are already receiving in-home care. They may also be available to individuals who have developmental and physical disabilities. Individuals who have been diagnosed with mental health illnesses may also qualify. Caregivers can rely on the financial assistance and guidance that is offered by HCBS programs so that they can give their loved ones the care they deserve.
Step #3 – Is Your Loved One Eligible for Veteran’s Aid?
The Veteran Directed Care Program is a great way for military veterans in the United States to get the quality of care they deserve. This allows them to play an active role in their own healthcare plan. Instead of entering into an assisted living facility or program, they can pay for an in-home caregiver they know and trust. Another beneficial program is known as Aid and Attendance. It also offers the option for paying for the in-home care that is provided by family caregivers. If you have questions about the guidelines for this type of program, call your local veterans’ service organization or Veterans Affairs.
Step #4 – Does Your Loved One Have a Long-Term Care Policy that Allows for Caregiver Compensation?
Many long-term care insurance policies offer coverage to reimburse a family member if they become the policyholder’s primary caregiver. The first step is finding out if your loved one has this type of policy. Next, look through the coverage to see exactly what is being offered. If there are any questions, get in touch with the agency or agent who wrote the policy and ask for a clarification. They can find out the answers and explain the process to you.
Step #5 – Does Your Company Offer Paid Time Off if You Choose to Become a Caregiver?
Many companies are quickly realizing that employees who have elderly parents would benefit from paid leave. If you are employed and have a family member who is requiring the services of a caregiver, talk to your employer to find out if they have an elder care benefit that you can enroll in. Intel, Sun Life, and other large companies are offering their employees 8 to 16 weeks of paid time off if they become a caregiver for a member of their family. Most employees can take unpaid family leave, but there are many companies that are beginning to offer some form of paid time off. As of 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that just over 15% of private-industry companies offered their employees access to any type of paid time off for being a caregiver.
Step #6 – Is Your Family Willing to Pay You to Become a Caregiver for Your Loved One?
It can be incredibly expensive to pay someone to come in take care of a relative. If you are forced to pay out of pocket, the Genworth Cost of Care Survey states that the average monthly cost of in-home care is as much as $4,500 plus. By becoming a caregiver yourself, you can save your family a huge amount of money every month and still receive some form of compensation for your time and effort. If you are willing to take the job, meet with an attorney to draft a contract that explains what your duties will be and how much you will be compensated for performing those duties. Include any compensation that will come from Veteran or Medicaid programs that your loved one will be eligible for.
Can you answer YES to the following questions?
If you are interested in helping out, here is how to apply to be a caregiver for a family member:
- 18 years of age or older
- Be able to pass a criminal background check
- Have a picture ID
- Be authorized to work in the US
- You cannot be the recipient’s spouse
- Agree to and sign a DSHS contract
- Complete all of the training requirements successfully in order to be classified as a caregiver