Medicare, Social Security, and Insurance

2/4/2021 | By Seniors Guide Staff

It’s a common question among adult children who are spending many hours caring for an aging parent: Can you get paid for taking care of an elderly parent, with all this time you’re putting in? The short answer to a relatively complicated question is yes, it is possible to receive compensation.

Several variables will affect the answer, but the two factors that have the most significant impact are whether the loved one who needs care is eligible for it and if the adult child is eligible to be a caregiver.

Here is a list of programs that could apply to your family’s situation.

Medicaid Programs

Medicaid is the most frequently-used source of payment. It has eligibility requirements for the program’s participants, and it has rules that govern who may provide them with care. Although traditionally associated with nursing home care, today’s Medicaid programs also offer assistance in the beneficiary’s home.

Here are the top four programs allowing family members to get paid for taking care of an elderly parent. Unfortunately, not all of these options are available in every state, but you should be able to find at least one of them where you live.

1. HCBS waivers program

The Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Waivers is the most common Medicaid option. It pays for help with the so-called activities of daily living (ADLs), including dressing, bathing, and eating, along with other chores to assist an elderly or disabled family member who remains in their home.

In most states, Medicaid Waivers have an option called “Consumer Direction.” The consumer, or care recipient, may choose to receive care from a family member, and Medicaid will compensate that individual (an adult child, for instance) for providing care for the elderly parent.

Although it is not called “Consumer Direction” in every state, the concept is available in all states under different names such as Self-Directed Care, Participant Directed Services, Choice Programs, and Self-Administered Services.

While nursing home Medicaid is an entitlement, the Waivers option is not. They are enrollment capped, meaning a specific number of people may be enrolled in the program, so waiting lists are relatively common.

2. Medicaid personal care services

State Medicaid programs may cover personal care under their regular Medicaid program. These are entitlement programs, meaning if the applicant meets the eligibility requirements, they may receive benefits; like to get paid for taking care of an elderly parent.

Similar to “Consumer Direction” in the Waivers program, Medicaid personal care services often allow the care recipient to choose their caregiver. And they frequently choose an adult child as their care provider.

Following an assessment of the elderly parent, it is determined how many hours of care are required each week. The adult child (or another family member) is paid the Medicaid-approved hourly rate for the services they provide.

3. Medicaid caregiver exemption

This caregiver exemption does not pay the adult child directly for caregiving. Instead, it allows the adult child providing care for their parent (in their parent’s home) to inherit the house, rather than having the state take the home under Estate Recovery rules. (Estate recovery rules may kick in when an older adult passes away, and the state attempts to take the house as reimbursement for the elderly person’s care).

To receive caregiver exemption, the adult child must live in the home with their parent and provide their care for at least two years. The care they give must prevent the parent from being placed in a nursing home, and they must have the medical documentation to prove it.

4. Adult foster care

In a few states, Medicaid allows adult children to become adult foster care providers for a parent or parents. The elderly parent moves into their adult child’s home, and the caregiver/child provides care, assistance with daily living activities, transportation to medical appointments, and other support services.

Medicaid funds the parent’s medical care and prescriptions, and Medicaid compensates the adult child for their care services; it’s one way to get paid for taking care of an elderly parent. Since Medicaid cannot pay for room and board, some states offer supplemental financial assistance to Medicaid beneficiaries who live in an adult foster home. The financial aid is meant for room and board expenses.

In this situation, the adult child is compensated from two sources: Medicaid and the state’s supplemental program. A caregiving child might be paid between $1,550 – $2,550 per month, depending on several factors, including the state of residence.

Seniors Guide Staff

Seniors Guide has been addressing traditional topics and upcoming trends in the senior living industry since 1999. We strive to educate seniors and their loved ones in an approachable manner, and aim to provide them with the right information to make the best decisions possible.

Seniors Guide Staff