Caring for a disabled family member can take away valuable time and personal income from caregivers. In fact, the demands may be so great that your own work and personal savings may be seriously impacted by being a caregiver. Providing care for a loved one is rewarding but can also be difficult. Some form of compensation can ease the burden.
About 29 percent of the U.S. Population, or 65 million people, are considered family caregivers. If you are of them, then you may ask the question, “Can I get paid to care for my disabled friend or family member?” The good news is that there are programs that can help you receive compensation for taking care of your family and friends.
If your relative qualifies according to state requirements you can get help from Medicaid. Under Medicaid’s Cash & Counseling Program (also referred to as Consumer Direction, Participant Direction and Self Directed Care), low-income individuals are given the freedom to choose their own health care agency. This includes the option to hire a relatives or friends as their “employees.”
The Cash & Counseling Program is available in 48 states (excluding North and South Dakota). However, eligibility requirements and program rules vary. States also often call their programs by different names. Refer to the National Resource Center for Participant-Directed Services to know requirements in your state. In Minnesota, the program that allows individuals to hire their relatives or friends to be their caregivers is the Minnesota PCA Program.
Family caregiver eligibility
States have their own restrictions as to who can be a paid patient care assistant or caregiver. However, most states generally do not allow first-degree relatives to be hired as a paid patient care assistant/attendant or PCA by their senior or disabled family member.
Minnesota allows family members to be the paid caregiver except for spouses, parents, and stepparents of children under 18. Massachusetts does not allow spouses, surrogates, legally responsible relatives, and the parents of a minor child (including adoptive and foster parents) to be hired as PCAs.
How caregivers get paid
Under the Cash & Counseling Program you may receive direct payments from Medicaid or from the state as a family caregiver. As a PCA you may get payment directly from the state after submitting some forms, or you can get payment from a Home Care Agency. In Minnesota PCAs receive payment from an agency after their relative or friend has been approved for PCA Services. You can contact a Minnesota PCA Agency to see if your friend or relative is eligible to receive services.