Caring for a Medicare beneficiary as a loved one can often feel like a full-time job. An estimated 48 million Americans provide unpaid care for loved ones with chronic illness, disability or other frailties1. If you assist with activities on a daily basis, you may find yourself neglecting your own needs. This includes shouldering costs related to caregiving that put a strain on your finances.
Many Medicare recipients rely on unpaid caregivers as an alternative to life in an assisted living facility. Most prefer this option because they’re seeking ways to stay in their home longer. In other cases, a family member who does not require skilled nursing care may need help with the activities of daily living or other personal care services.
While these can be important factors, it’s also good to consider the circumstances of caregivers. If you have questions about how to become a paid caregiver for a family member, SelectQuote can help. Read on to learn about valuable resources that can enhance your life as a caregiver for a family member on Medicare.
Can a family member get paid to be a caregiver?
You may be able to receive payment for your services as a caregiver, but there is no current Medicare caregiver program to help make it happen. Resources vary from state to state, and you may not always be eligible to receive help. Many government and insurance programs don’t pay family members to be caregivers.
That doesn’t mean resources aren’t available. It just means you may need to do some legwork and preparation to receive help.
Does Medicare pay for caregivers?
Medicare does not offer reimbursement for family caregivers. It also doesn’t provide payment for long-term care services like in-home care or adult day services. There are a few Medicare Advantage plans that offer coverage for services such as meal delivery or rides to medical appointments, but these are limited.
There are some home health services that are covered by Medicare 2. These eligible services can include:
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Medical social services
- Speech-language pathology services
- Part-time home health aide services, including personal hands-on care
In some cases, you may be able to find programs that pay family members for care if the recipient receives Medicaid. But, access can be complicated and varies by state.
How to Get Paid to Take Care of a Family Member
If you’re concerned about receiving payment for caregiving services, you’re not alone. Even though Medicare does not offer family caregiver compensation, you may still be able to find a workaround.
One simple way to seek payment for your caregiving efforts is to ask the care recipient for help. If they’re of sound mind, you can discuss the particulars of a paid caregiver contract. By putting the agreement in writing, it can help protect both you and your loved one. Meet with an attorney to help draft a contract that clearly spells out:
- Your responsibilities to them
- A payment schedule for budgeting
- A work schedule with built-in respite time and back-ups
In addition to being a valuable way to protect your health and finances, this kind of contract can help if you decide to pursue assistance for adult caregiving through Medicaid. Medicaid is government-provided health insurance for low-income adults, children, elderly adults and those with disabilities. It differs from Medicare, however, in that not all seniors are eligible.
What happens if you’re in a position that doesn’t allow you to have a discussion of this sort? How do you find financial assistance for care services? Let’s look at some of the resources available to help find financial relief for caregiving, goods and services or even respite care.
Medicaid Self-Directed Services
Is your loved one eligible for Medicaid? Self-Directed Medicaid Services programs are available in several states. This resource can help your loved one manage a budget and determine how to pay for goods and services for their personal care needs. Determine eligibility for your loved one by contacting your local Medicaid office.
Local Area Agencies on Aging
Your local Area Agency on Aging may be able to help provide guidance on when and how Medicaid programs in your state can offer family caregivers financial support. Your AAA also manages a federally supported program to help family caregivers who face financial burdens that come with caregiving.
National Family Caregiver Support Program
The National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP) offers grants to states and territories to fund support for family and informal caregivers to keep their loved ones home as long as possible. The NFCSP offers provisions for caregivers to receive grant funding and assistance to access available services, counseling, and support groups.
Caregiver Action Network
The Caregiver Action Network provides information and resources for caregivers. You’ll find tips for financial assistance and other insights and advice, including:
- Tools for caregiving
- Support groups
- Checklists for doctor visits
- Respite care resources
- Eldercare services
- Nutrition counseling
- Dealing with bereavement
The Eldercare Locator is a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging. It connects seniors and caregivers to services related to caregiving, money management, programs for parents and tips for avoiding forms of elder abuse including financial abuse and neglect.
Not all services and programs will be available in all areas. Finding caregiver resources that work for you can aid in managing the burden (and joy) of caregiving. A care program that offers home and community based resources in your area can help eliminate much of the stress of caregiving, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle.
Understand Your Beneficiary’s Medicare Coverage with SelectQuote
Even though Medicare coverage doesn’t often assist with the financial realities of providing daily care for your loved ones, it’s important to know what exactly is covered and when. At SelectQuote, we provide answers to your Medicare questions, from understanding Original Medicare to finding the right plan for supplemental coverage. If you have concerns about providing the proper level of care to your Medicare beneficiary and want to maximize their benefits, we can help.