November 19, 2021
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How to be a Paid Caregiver for a Family Member at Home

Can you really be a paid caregiver for your aging parent at home?

This is a common question that I get in my years dealing with geriatric care. 

Being a caregiver is expensive, time-consuming, and at times, can be emotionally draining. 

The good thing is, there are available options that you can take advantage of. 

Today, we are discussing the financial assistance options you can have that will help you become a paid caregiver

We will also be talking about the steps you need to complete to alleviate the financial challenges that caregiving can bring. 

Financial challenges of family caregivers 

Approximately 53 million Americans currently provide care to a family member. Most of them deal with children, a person with sickness or disability, and the elderly. 

Statistics show that nearly two-thirds of these caregivers are women in their late 40s. And at least 61% work full or part-time to provide for care expenses. 

While most caregivers say that the experience is gratifying, most also share significant financial challenges.

Three out of ten caregivers have stopped taking care of their savings account. One in five also report having problems managing their payables on time.

And at least 25% of caregivers have taken on more debt in an effort to maintain their loved one’s health and wellness. 

paid caregiver - overdue

On top of this, caregivers also often feel overwhelmed by their duties and responsibilities. 

Most find it challenging to manage their time and energy. 

22% of caregivers also talk about emotional and physical stress, especially those who take care of patients with dementia. 

Some also share feelings of isolation and lack of support from other family members. 

Because of this, caregivers can suffer from anxiety, causing their careers to take a backseat. 

The good thing is, there are existing programs that can ease the financial burdens that caregivers are experiencing. 

While it may not cover all of the elderly’s needs, it helps to know that there are existing options you can take advantage of. 

Programs that help you get paid as a family caregiver

At the moment, there are three major government programs that offer to pay for family members to care for an older adult. 

There are also private benefits programs that provide financial help for seniors as well. 

Medicaid programs 

Medicaid programs help seniors hire in-home care providers instead of professional caregivers. In some states, spouses are also allowed to be paid caregivers. 

This program is called the self-directed care program. It lets qualified people manage their own health services and hire family members as caregivers. 

Each Medicaid funding authority has different guidelines. But all authorities share common characteristics. 

For example, it is required that a person-centered planning process and assessment should be in place. 

Its purpose is to identify the strengths, capacities, preferences, and needs of the individual. A contingency plan is also created as a part of the person-centered plan. 

A service plan is also created specifying the services and support that need to be made to meet the senior’s preferences. 

An individualized budget is also set under the control and direction of the individual. 

States are also required to arrange for assistance and support to address the needs of the individual. 

Support guidelines are also set for each member. A supports broker or counselor is assigned to individuals who choose the self-direction portion. 

Financial management services are also available to assist the person in exercising budget authority. 

These can include understanding billing and documentation responsibilities, payroll, purchasing approved goods and services, and even tracking and monitoring budget expenditures. 

Learn more about Medicaid programs here. 

Special state programs 

Each state has programs that can help you become a paid caregiver. And these are catered towards those who are not eligible for Medicaid. 

Some states offer compensation, benefits, or support to those who meet the circumstance and eligibility factors. 

States like California, New Jersey, New York, and Hawaii offer to pay family caregivers and provide ongoing caregiving resources and support. 

California particularly stands out when it comes to family caregiver support. 

The state has the Paid Family Leave Act that provides benefit payments to those who go on temporary leave to care for a loved one who is seriously ill. 

It also has a unique program called Family Caregiver Services. This helps coordinate services for respite care, in-home, and out-of-home assistance. 

Nebraska also offers a similar one called the Lifespan Respite Program. Here, caregivers can get up to $125 per client per month. 

The goal of this program is to help pay for respite services and relieve caregivers of their responsibilities for a short period. 

Find the best options you have in your state and contact your local Area Agency on Aging here.  

Veterans benefit programs 

paid caregiver - veterans

Veteran-Directed Home and Community-Based Services (VD-HCBS) is a home-based care program designed for veterans. 

Here the veteran can choose services that meet their needs. They also get assistance in managing their spending budgets, especially for personal care services. 

These services can include daily activities like groceries, fixing meals, and personal grooming. 

It is also designed for veterans who are feeling isolated or if their caregivers need a quick break. 

There are also the VA Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits. It provides a monthly payment on top of the VA pensions for veterans and survivors. 

Veterans who have limited eyesight and are bedridden can qualify for this benefit. Those who are living in nursing homes due to physical or mental disabilities can also be eligible. 

If you’d like to know more about these programs, check out the Veterans Affairs website here. 

How to get support as a paid caregiver 

Now that you know some of the options for financial assistance, the next thing to do is to know your eligibility. 

Here are the steps you need to go through to get financial help. 

Determine your eligibility for available programs 

paid caregiver options

It is best for you to check if your loved one is eligible for Medicaid. 

If they are, you may be able to receive financial aid from the Self-directed Medicaid services programs. 

Note that this program may vary from state to state. And the best way to do this is to contact your local Medicaid office to check for eligibility. 

There’s also the HCBS that provides support and care oversight to help caregivers. The program also provides a tax-free stipend to ease the financial burdens of caregivers. 

Check for a long-term care insurance policy that includes caregiver compensation 

Most insurance policies do not include long-term care in their packages. But it’s still best for you to check if your loved one’s insurance policies include provisions for paying caregivers.

To do this, contact the insurance agent or company and ask about the caregiver payment benefit. 

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Check if your company offers paid leave for caregivers 

It also makes sense for you to check your company’s rules when it comes to assisting employees who are caregivers. 

See if there are eldercare programs available or any paid leaves available that can help you while you’re considering other arrangements. 

Discuss options with family members 

You can also consider asking for help from family members for financial assistance, especially if you are the primary caregiver. 

It might be challenging, but it’s also best to get the help of an elder attorney in drafting a contract to protect yourself and your family. 

The contract should clearly state your responsibilities, work schedule, and even the payment schedule. 

This way it will be easier to make arrangements and keep an amicable relationship between the family. 

Get more tips on how to care for low-income seniors here. 


It is possible to become a paid caregiver for your loved ones at home. 

The challenge is knowing your options and keeping communications open between the caregiver and other family members. 

Do you have any tips on becoming a paid caregiver for your loved ones? Share in the comments below.

That's all for today.

Take care, keep mom safe and have a great day!


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