Apr 10, 2023

Can I get paid for caring for my senior or elderly parents?

Manny Cominsky

One question that we are always hearing from people who help care for their senior or elderly parents is whether there are any programs, government sponsored or otherwise, that will help compensate them for the time and energy they spend providing their senior and elderly loved ones with care. Luckily, the answer to this question is yes! However, while there are government programs that will pay you for you to care for your senior or elderly parents, the qualifications for these programs can sometimes be fairly complicated. Furthermore, not every one of these programs is offered in each state across the country. For this reason it’s important to consult a local elder care attorney or financial or tax advisor with experience helping senior clients before trying any of the methods below. In the meantime, to learn more about making caring for your senior parents more affordable read our blog below or reach out to the Sunbound team today.

Medicaid Options

It’s probably no surprise to followers of the Sunbound blog that the most likely way for an individual to be paid for taking care of their senior or elderly family member is through Medicaid. Many state Medicaid programs allow participants to choose their caregiver, meaning that your senior relative can choose you to be their caregiver that is paid by Medicaid.

HCBS Waivers

The most common way that people get paid for caring for their senior or elderly relatives is through HCBS Waivers, which stands for Home and Community Based Services, and which are also sometimes known by other names like 1915(c) Waivers or Section 1115 Waivers. These Waivers are designed to provide seniors with an alternative to nursing home care, and allow states to pay for individuals to receive senior care while living outside of a nursing home (often at their own home). HCBS Waivers are commonly used to pay for daily personal care for individuals who struggle with their Activities of Daily Living, a role that is often filled by a senior’s family members.    

As noted above, most state HCBS Waiver programs allow an individual to choose who is paid by Medicaid to provide them with senior care, a system known by several different names depending on the state, including Consumer Direction, Participant Directed Services, Self-Directed Care, Cash and Counseling, Choice Programs, and Self-Administered Services. Regardless of the name, all of these programs work in a similar way by allowing eligible seniors to choose who Medicaid will compensate to provide their senior care. In most states, Medicaid pays the family caregiver an hourly rate often between roughly $10 and $20 per hour.

Medicaid Personal Care

Similarly to HCBS Waivers, many state Medicaid programs allow seniors to choose who provides their personal care as part of their Medicaid coverage. So just like with HCBS Waivers, as explained above, an eligible senior can choose who receives personal care from a family member can choose to have Medicaid reimbursement that family member for their time at a set hourly rate. Generally, these types of personal care programs will involve an assessment of the senior’s physical condition in order to determine how many hours of care they need each week. Whether or not a particular type Medicaid personal care program offers a consumer choice will depend on the state, so it is important to always check your local eligibility requirements for any Medicaid personal care programs.

Adult Foster Care

Another Medicaid funded program that will pay adult children to care for their senior or elderly parents and is known as adult foster care. In this situation, which is only available in some states, the senior or elderly parent will move into their adult child’s home and then receive care, such as daily meals or assistance with taking medication, provided by their child. The senior will continue to receive Medicaid coverage for their medical care, including things like doctor’s visits and prescription drug services, and will reimburse the adult child for the care services that they provide. Medicaid can only reimburse adult children for the care that they provide, not for the room and board, but adult foster care providers will often receive reimbursement both from Medicaid and local state agencies. While every state is different, adult foster care reimbursement rates are generally around $1,500 to $2,500 per month.

Senior Tax Benefits

In addition to programs like the above, where a government agency will directly pay you for providing care for your senior or elderly parent, there are also programs that will provide significant tax relief for people who provide care for their senior or elderly parents. So while this may not be a direct form of payment, the end effect is the same as these programs reimburse individuals for the care they provide. First, the medical and care expenses that are incurred from taking care of a senior parent who is financially dependent on you can be deducted from your own income in certain circumstances. In addition, with the Dependent Care Credit expense such as adult day care or at-home senior care can be fully deductible for individuals who are forced to pay for their elderly or senior parents to receive care so that they themselves can start working.

Benefits for Veterans

If you are caring for an elderly or senior loved one is a veteran and who is currently enrolled in the VA health care system, you may be able to receive compensation for the care you provide similar to the Medicaid HCBS Waiver program described above. These programs, known as Veterans Directed Care Programs or VD-HCBS programs, are open to veterans enrolled in the VA health care system who require “nursing facility level of care.” Just like with Medicaid HCBS Waivers, these programs allow the veteran to select the individual who will be providing (and therefore compensated for) their care. Like with HCBS waivers, Veterans Directed Care Programs pay on an hourly basis.

Because these programs vary in each state, it’s important to talk to a local elder law attorney or financial advisor with experience working with senior clients if you think you or a senior loved one may qualify for any of the programs mentioned above. In the meantime, if you or a senior loved one are looking for ways to make paying for senior living or senior care easier and more affordable, reach out to Sunbound today.

To learn more about how Sunbound can help make paying for senior living and senior care more affordable for you or your senior loved one, send us an email at info@sunboundhomes.com or request more information on Sunbound. Sunbound is the best way to pay for senior living and senior care, and we’re on a mission to make senior living and senior care more affordable for everyone.

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