How To Get Paid To Take Care Of A Family Member With A Disability

A disabled man in a wheelchair is laughing at something he is being shown on an ipad by his carer.

Caring for a family member with a disability can be difficult for many reasons. It is challenging to see your loved one struggle with the tasks of daily living, and the family caregiver might also suffer some financial consequences. The caregiver will likely see some out-of-pocket expenses related to the care, and they often have to reduce their work hours or even quit their job. Providing this home care for a loved one can be extremely rewarding and allow that person to stay in their home instead of moving to a long-term care facility. So, how can you provide this care and still make sure your own finances don’t suffer? Keep reading as we tell you some ways that you can get paid to take care of a family member with a disability.


How To Get Paid To Take Care Of A Family Member

An elderly man, a young man, and a child are sitting on a couch, laughing and eating popcorn.

Can a family member get paid to be a caregiver? Yes! There are several different care programs available that will provide government assistance for family caregivers or attendants. By taking advantage of one of these programs, you can provide the personal care needed by your family member while making sure that your personal finances stay in order. Here are some of the most common programs out there that will pay you to take care of a family member.


— Medicaid Self-Directed Care

You probably already know that Medicaid provides health care insurance to low-income individuals. Medicaid is a joint Federal and state program. This means that each state gets to set its own rules, and both the state and Federal governments contribute money to the program. Under the self-directed care program, disabled individuals are allowed to manage their own care services.

The disabled person is allowed to manage their care budget by choosing their care provider and deciding how those care services will be provided. They can even select you as their paid caregiver, but you need to make sure that everything is documented properly. As long as the disabled person meets the eligibility requirements, the Medicaid program will pay you to provide their care.

Remember that each state gets to set its own rules for this program, but most states require that the person be over age 65 or be diagnosed with a disability under the Social Security Act. They must also meet the program’s income guidelines, and most states require that the person be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen.


— State Medicaid Programs

In addition to the self-directed care program, many states offer other programs through their state Medicaid office that could get a family caregiver paid. If you have a family member who can no longer perform the normal activities of daily living, then you should contact your Medicaid office to determine what programs are available. For example, California offers Paid Family Leave through their Medicaid office that can be used to pay a caregiver for up to eight weeks. The care recipient can receive up to 60% to 80% of their normal full-time income if they have paid into the state disability insurance program for the last 18 months. This would provide them some income to share with the caregiver until a more permanent solution is put into place. Similarly, you might be able to use funds from short-term disability insurance to help pay the caregiver until a long-term solution can be put in place.


— Veteran Directed Care

The Veteran Directed Care program is a program that helps provide supportive services to eligible veterans. These services can include many services that help with daily activities, like bathing, preparing meals, or other things. Once the veteran makes it through the application process, he or she can work with a counselor to manage a care plan and budget. They get to hire their own caregiver and pay the caregiver from their monthly care budget. This caregiver can be a family member, home care agency, or other long-term care services. Make sure that things are documented properly, and this program could pay you to care for your veteran family member. The Veterans Directed home care program seeks to allow more veterans to live at home by providing financial assistance for these personal care services.


— Long-Term Care Insurance

Long-term care insurance is sold by private insurance companies and can be used to pay for common items associated with elder care, like nursing home care, home health care, and even caregivers. Typically, this type of insurance will pay for items that are excluded from Medicare coverage. Plans vary by provider, so you should check the details of your family member’s plan to determine whether you might be eligible for payment as a caregiver. Some long-term care plans will not pay a caregiver who lives with the insured person, while others will provide payments for live-in caregivers. You can often get more information about these types of programs from AARP, a local licensed insurance agent, or other resources. Also, remember that long-term care insurance is not the same thing as long-term disability insurance.


— Home And Community Based Service Waivers

Typically, you might expect that Medicaid will only pay for long-term care in a facility. However, you can apply for a waiver to receive financial assistance for these health services to be provided in your home. There are many home and community-based services (HCBS) available, and these plans vary depending on which state you live in. These social services programs typically include a daily stipend for caregivers, and they are usually open to people with intellectual or developmental disabilities, physical disabilities, mental health issues, or older adults. For example, someone 70 years of age who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease might be a good candidate for one of these programs.


— Tax Deductions

Though tax deductions are not a direct payment, getting a tax break can help with some of the financial strain of caring for a family member. If you are the primary caregiver for a qualifying family member, you can deduct certain care expenses as well as medical expenses on your tax return. Some of these credits could result in several thousands of dollars in savings when tax time rolls around. You should talk to a tax professional or visit to learn more about potential tax deductions for caring for a family member.


Eligibility For Caretaker Pay

A woman is working at her laptop on the kitchen counter.

Since each state offers different assistance programs to provide caretaker pay, the rules vary by state. However, there are some general rules that will need to be followed regardless of which state you live in. First, if you are attempting to get caretaker pay via one of the Medicaid programs in your state, the person needing care will need to qualify for Medicaid. Medicaid typically provides health insurance to low-income individuals, and the family member will need to get enrolled in Medicaid to start the process for those programs.

Adult children commonly become the caretaker for aging parents or provide attendant services for those parents. Some states require that those caretakers become certified Medicaid caretakers before they can receive compensation from the Medicaid programs. You should contact the Medicaid resource center or office in your state to learn the specific eligibility criteria that must be met.

Regardless of the criteria, one thing is for certain. Make sure that you properly document everything that is necessary to qualify for and receive compensation as a caregiver. Failure to document things could result in a loss of financial assistance, and you might even be required to repay money that has already been given to you. Proper documentation is key to making sure that all the requirements are met and that you can prove the proper steps were taken when providing care.


Applying For Family Caregiver Pay

So, how do you apply for family caregiver pay through one of these programs? You will want to start with your state Medicaid office in most cases. You can use a Medicaid office locator to find the office closest to you. Some programs may only offer pay for primary caregivers, while others might even have money available for those who provide respite care. The first step in receiving pay as a caregiver is getting the person who needs care enrolled in Medicaid. Since Medicaid has the most programs available, that is where most caregiver pay usually comes from.

If your family member is a veteran, then you should contact the Veterans Affairs office to determine the application process. Some of the VA programs not only provide pay for caregivers, but they might also provide assistance for home modifications and other items necessary for your family member to live at home on their own. There may be extensive documentation that you are required to provide as part of the application process. You might be required to submit income verification or other documentation that proves the financial resources of the family member. You might also be required to obtain a caregiver certification through the Medicaid program before you can receive payment. Just make sure that you keep proper documentation at all steps of the process.

Another option that works for some people is a personal contract between the family member and the caregiver. This type of payment is not given through any state or federal program, and there is no application process. The caregiver and family member (or their legal guardian) sign a contract that states how much the family member will pay the caregiver for their services. While this type of arrangement might seem too impersonal for some, it works well for others.


How Much Can A Family Caregiver Earn?

So, what is the family caregiver pay rate? Most of the Medicaid programs mentioned above pay family caregivers an hourly rate based on the amount of time spent with the family member. Each state program pays a different rate based on the average cost of a caretaker in that location. On average, you can expect to receive anywhere from $10 to $20 per hour for your services. Depending on the level of care that your family member requires, this amount could result in a decent amount of money.

Remember that you will need to properly document everything before getting paid, so make sure that you are actually providing care during the hours for which you are getting paid. Also, know that this differs from how much a child can get paid if a parent is on disability. In that case, a child receiving money applies to a minor child who has a parent receiving Social Security Disability benefits.

If you decide to execute a personal contract with your family member, there is no limit to how much you can earn. Again, you should consider how much care that person needs as well as the average rate for care in your area. Full-time care in the home can cost $5,000 per month or more, so paying a family member to provide this care could be beneficial to both parties. If you can both agree on an amount and the services to be performed, it could be a great arrangement.


Additional Caregiver Resources

There are many additional resources out there for caregivers to take advantage of. Since caring for a family member comes with a special set of challenges and considerations, many areas have support groups. You can use these groups to meet and interact with others who care for a family member. These groups often provide a way for caregivers to support each other and learn new ways of handling the situation.

Most states have many local area agencies that also provide support to family caregivers. This could be in the form of financial assistance, education, or other things that can help these caregivers. These local agencies can also assist with the Medicaid application process and direct caregivers to other resources and financial assistance that might be available to them.

Finally, you can contact the Department of Health and Human Services to learn more about national programs that assist family caregivers. One of the largest programs out there is the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP). This program provides grants and other resources to states to help fund their local programs.


The Bottom Line

Caring for a family member comes with a unique set of challenges, and since many people miss time from work to provide care, a financial burden can often be one of the challenges. Thankfully, there are many programs available that can provide payment to caregivers. In many cases, these payments can even go to a family member who is providing the care. If you provide care for a family member, you should contact your state Medicaid office to determine whether you might qualify for caregiver pay. You could be getting paid up to $20 per hour to care for your family member, and there are also many national programs and support groups available to assist with other resources.


Frequently Asked Questions


What are the qualifications needed to get paid to take care of a family member with a disability?

Many people wonder how to get paid by the state for taking care of someone. The qualifications needed to take care of a family member vary from one state to the next. First, you should check to see if the family member qualifies for Medicaid. If not, then you might be able to receive compensation as a caregiver if the family member is a veteran. Some states require very few qualifications; however, other states require that you be a Medicaid-certified caregiver before you can receive payment from the Medicaid program.


How often will I get paid for caring for a disabled family member?

The payment schedules may vary slightly from one program to the next. However, you will generally get paid monthly for providing care for a family member. Remember that most Medicaid programs pay on an hourly basis. However, your time must be properly logged and submitted to the Medicaid program. They will usually provide payment each month from the hours from the previous month. Some programs might offer payments twice per month, but a monthly payment schedule is more common.


What types of disabilities are eligible for caregiver pay?

There is not a specific list of disabilities that qualify for caregiver pay. As a general rule, younger individuals must have a condition that would qualify as a disability under the Social Security Act. However, older individuals might have a range of conditions that would qualify. These could be physical disabilities, developmental disabilities, or mental health disabilities. If an older person is not able to perform their normal activities of daily living, then you might be able to qualify for caregiver pay.