The AARP recently updated their report, “Valuing the Invaluable” to account for the undervalued cost of family caregiving activities that accounted for an estimated 36 billion caregiving hours that they calculate as being worth $600 billion in 2021.  Caregiving is especially time-consuming for special needs families who are caring for people of all ages and possibly tending to the needs of both children and elderly loved ones, while also trying to work outside the home. Our article, Caring for the Caregiver, provides good tips for other ways to tend to the needs of the caregiver beyond financial ones.

One question caregivers may wonder is whether they can be paid as a caregiver. The AARP article entitled “Can I Get Paid to Be a Caregiver for a Family Member?” provides details on how caregivers receiving benefits through Medicaid and veterans programs provide the best chance for family caregivers to lighten the financial burden of tending to disabled or elderly loved ones. Payment by a family member is one other option to consider. Read more about these three different options to get paid as a caregiver for your Wellesley loved one.

Medicaid or MassHealth. All 50 states and DC have self-directed Medicaid services for long-term care. These programs let states grant waivers that allow qualified people to manage their own long-term home-care services, as an alternative to the traditional model where services are managed by an agency. In some states, that can include hiring a family member to provide care. The benefits, coverage, eligibility, and rules differ from state to state. Click to read about Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) waivers through MassHealth.

Veterans have four plans for which they may qualify:

Veteran Directed Care. This plan lets qualified former service members manage their own long-term services and supports. It is available in 37 states, DC, and Puerto Rico for veterans of all ages who are enrolled in the Veterans Health Administration health care system and need the level of care a nursing facility provides but want to live at home or the home of a loved one.

Aid and Attendance (A&A) benefits. This program supplements a military pension to help cover the cost of a caregiver, who may be a family member. These benefits are available to veterans who qualify for VA pensions and meet certain criteria. In addition, surviving spouses of qualifying veterans may be eligible for this benefit.

Housebound benefits. Vets who get a military pension and are substantially confined to their immediate premises because of permanent disability can apply for a monthly pension supplement.

Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers. This program gives a monthly stipend to a vet’s family members who serve as caregivers who need assistance with everyday activities because of a traumatic injury sustained in the line of duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001.

Other caregiver benefits through the program include the following:

  • Access to health insurance and mental health services, including counseling
  • Comprehensive training
  • Lodging and travel expenses incurred when accompanying vets going through care; and
  • Up to 30 days of respite care per year.

Payment by a family member. If the person requiring assistance is mentally sound and has sufficient financial resources, that person can pay a family member for the same services a professional home health care worker would provide. If you are planning for the future of your disabled loved one and know that a family might be caring for your disabled loved one and you want to ensure that the family member is paid as a caregiver, one option is to include those terms in a special needs trust.  Contact our Framingham team of special needs planning attorneys who can help you plan for the best future for your special needs family.