How to Get Paid as a Family Caregiver

According to the CDC, over one in five adults have provided care for friends or family members over the past 30 days. Of that number, one in three provides care for 20 hours a week or more.

According to the AARP, 78 percent of family caregivers report having out-of-pocket expenses averaging over $7,200 annually. This works out to $600 a month. No small change.

Caregiving 20-plus hours a week and all of the out-of-pocket expenses can take a financial toll on caregivers and their families.

In many cases, caregivers are unable to work a job around their caregiving duties, limiting their ability to earn much-needed income.

And let's face it, caregiving is a job all on its own is a job, so why not find ways to get paid for caring for your loved one?

How Can I Get Paid to Care for a Family Member?

Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers Program for Veterans

As of October 1, 2022, you may be eligible for the Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers Program if the family member you're caring for is a veteran.

According to the VA website, you may be eligible if you and the Veteran you’re caring for meet all of these requirements.

Eligibility requirements for the family caregiver:

  • You must be at least 18 years old. And at least one of these must be true for you:
    • You’re a spouse, son, daughter, parent, stepfamily member, or extended family member of the Veteran, or
    • You live full-time with the Veteran, or you’re willing to live full-time with the Veteran if we designate you as a family caregiver

The Veteran can appoint:

  • One Primary Family Caregiver (the main caregiver), and
  • Up to two Secondary Family Caregivers (people who serve as backup support to the primary caregiver when needed)

If eligible, primary and secondary caregivers can receive:

  • Monthly stipend for the caregiver,
  • Caregiver education and training
  • Mental health counseling

Eligible Primary Family Caregivers may also receive:

  • Gas and lodging when transporting veteran to and from healthcare facilities,
  • Access to health care benefits through the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA)—if you don’t already qualify for care or services under another health care plan
  • And at least 30 days of respite care for the veteran.

There are strict requirements in order to qualify. However, once in the program, the VA offers outstanding benefits for the veteran and caregiver.

For more information, call 1-877-222-VETS (ext. 8387).

Medicaid Based Programs

Federal program administered by each state.
Medicaid programs are based on income and/or disability and vary widely from state to state.

If your loved one qualifies, you may be able to be hired by a home health agency to provide in-home caregiving.

Each state has its own set of rules, budget, and eligibility requirements. The state where I reside, for instance, has a few programs for paid caregiving.

One is the In-Home Caregiver program. This program pays for Medicaid-qualifying clients to receive in-home paid caregivers.

As far as family members are concerned, any family member except the spouse may provide the service. For more information, check with your local Medicaid office.

Area Agency on Aging

In addition, check with your local Area Agency on Aging. This a public or private non-profit agency designated by the state to address the needs and concerns of all older persons at the regional and local levels.

In addition to a Caregiver's Corner that has a wealth of information and links pertinent to caregivers, they offer long-term care planning and much more.

Long-Term Health Insurance

Another option is to investigate long-term health insurance plans.

These plans may cover in-home caregiving, along with nursing home stays.

Some things to consider when purchasing this type of insurance:

  • Age of insured. It may cost more the longer you wait to purchase this type of insurance
  • Number of days and amount per day policy pays
  • Health status when purchased
    Optional add-on benefits
  • Lifetime limit of the policy

Local Community-Based Organizations

Of all the resources out there, this one is probably the least accessed. In my area, for instance, we have an area Community Action Partnership (CAP). This a network of programs scattered throughout the state which has grants and programs to assist caregivers.

Services they offer range from caregiver respite, gas vouchers to help offset fuel used to transport loved ones, and grants to pay caregivers for their time.

They also assist low-income clients in procuring housing, assistance with rides to doctors, and much more.

Be aware that, depending on your location, CAP is highly individualized in its services, and not all locations will offer the same services.

Check out the programs in your local area. If you have trouble locating services, contact the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) in your state.

Tax Benefits

The IRS provides for a whole array of tax deductions, credits, and expenses related to in-home caregiving.

The following is an excerpt from the most recent IRS FAQ section on procedures for family caregivers.

Generally, to claim your parent as a dependent, you must meet the following tests:

  • You (and your spouse if filing jointly) are not a dependent of another taxpayer.
  • Your parent, if married, doesn't file a joint return unless your parent and his or her spouse file a joint return only to claim a refund of income tax withheld or estimated tax paid.
  • Your parent is a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, U.S. resident alien, or a resident of Canada or Mexico.
  • You paid more than half of your parent's support for the calendar year.
  • Your parent's gross income for the calendar year was less than $4,400.
  • Your parent isn't a qualifying child of another taxpayer.
  • If your parent is your foster parent, they must have lived with you all year in your main home and as a member of your household.”

Some medical and household expenses may also be deductible. Please consult a tax professional for guidance.

Brooke worked as a home health and hospice nurse for many years. During her time working with patients and families, she saw the pressures and strain of what caregivers went through while caring for loved ones. Lack of resources to help caregivers prompted her to start a support group for caregivers in her area. Since then Brooke has turned to writing courses for nurses and content writing. In her spare time, she enjoys time with family, her dog and travel.