Compensation for Caregiving

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See the Caregiver Space article “Can I get paid to be a family caregiver?” by Cori Carl: for helpful and comprehensive information about options for paying caregivers.  Programs vary state to state and are, in general a work in progress.  That is not to say you shouldn’t bother—it is worth you effort to explore what is available—and a good starting point is your Area Agency on Aging. 

The following excerpts are included in the chapter titled “Finances”  in What to Do about Mama?

One means of accomplishing “Aging in Place” is through a Personal Service Agreement, or Caregiving Contract. The agreement provides family members with compensation for quitting a job to take on the responsibility of caregiving. It recognizes the sacrifice of family members who give up income and acknowledges the astronomical costs of assisted-living facilities or hiring in-home help. Because the contract is a legal document, it is advisable to hire a lawyer to draft it or advise you about the contents.

Therefore, the disadvantages are:
• Legal expenditures
• The time entailed for detailed recordkeeping

The advantages are:
• Financial compensation
• A legitimate way to spend down assets
• Transparency for all family members
• The senior citizen maintains a sense of control over his or her life
• A lessening of the senior’s feeling of being a “burden” to the caregiver

Families can, of course, agree upon other reimbursement options—as long as they recognize that the sharing of expenses with the care receiver and/or other family members:
• Is “insurance” to cover the increasing level of care needs (by avoiding more expensive options: home-health care, assisted living, and nursing homes)
• Minimizes the stress on the caregiver’s personal finances It is advisable, however, to secure some type of legal agreement to avoid future problems. Remember, too, that if you have financial control, keeping your family informed decreases their tendencies toward doubt and second-guessing.

What to Do about Mama? p. 209

Some caregivers choose to quit an existing job to provide care. That option may be more feasible if a Personal Service Agreement or Caregiver Contract is established.

The contract should address:
1. Tasks—personal services, personal health services, driving, household services
2. Work schedule and hours
3. Wages and how to be paid (rates comparable to those of home-health companies)
4. Care receiver Social Security payments and caregiver reporting
5. Reimbursement of caregiver expenses and car maintenance.

What to Do about Mama? p. 214

Don’t forget–research and explore your options.