Get Paid! 4 Alternative Strategies To Earn Money As An At Home Caregiver

The oddest way I ever earned money was by selling books. It was odd because I made 100% profit. Here’s how I did it.

The last week of high school each year there was a used textbook sale. It took place on the front lawn of the school. Upperclassman sold their used textbooks for a discount to the lowerclassman rising through the ranks.

I noticed however that many students had no interest in selling their old books. Their mind was focused on summer beaches and all they wanted was to get the hell out of dodge.

So I wandered the halls and asked the frazzled kids, “Hey, do you mind if I have that book.” They would invariable say “Sure!” or “It’s summer! Take it dork.”

I then walked outside 50 feet onto the lawn and sold the books. I made over $150 each year I did it.

How often does that happen in life?

Not often. Sometimes all it takes is some creative problem solving.

This article outlines some alternative and new ways you can get paid as an at home family caregiver!

You will be empowered to get compensated for the hard work that you do each day!

In my last article, “Get Paid! How To Earn Money As An At Home Family Caregiver” I addressed the three traditional ways of getting paid:

  1. Tapping Into Savings or Retirement Funds
  2. Pooling Together Family Resources
  3. Increasing the Caregiver’s Inheritance

In this article we will consider four more options:

  1. Accessing Benefits from Veterans Services
  2. Getting Paid by Medicaid’s Cash and Counseling Program
  3. Becoming Certified as a Medicaid Home Care Provider
  4. Taking Advantage of Employer Benefits and Tax Breaks

We will also talk about strategies to reward family caregivers if financial options are no longer available. You and your fellow family caregivers deserve recognition!

Accessing Benefits from Veterans Services

Is either of your parents a veteran? If they are struggling financially and have medical issues, they may be able to access funds from the Non-Service Connected Improved Pension.

The Non-Service Connected Improved Pension assists veterans with out-of-pocket medical expenses. This money can be used to pay a caregiver for some of their services. The requirements are:

  • At least 90 days of active service
  • At least one day of active service during a war
  • At least 65 years in age
  • Minimum income requirements (this varies by state)

While the benefit is available to 33 percent of veterans, only 5 percent actually take advantage of it. The maximum benefits are:

  • $1,842 a month for a married veteran
  • $1,554 per month for a veteran
  • $998 per month for a widow

Start the process early. A typical application takes between 4 and 6 months to process. Click here (Form 21-526 for veterans or Form 21-534 for spouses) for the application. Visit here or call 1-800-827-1000 for more information.

Getting Paid by Medicaid’s Cash and Counseling Program

If your loved one is using Medicaid, they may be able to access the Cash and Counseling program, which enables your loved one to receive money to cover at-home medical expenses. They can use these funds to pay a caregiver.

Cash and Counseling is currently available in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia. Similar programs with different names exist in other states.

Contact your local Medicaid, human services or social services department to see if your loved one is eligible. Call the Eldercare Locator at 800-677-1116 to track down information on the program in your area.

Becoming Certified as a Medicaid Home Care Provider

This strategy is for elderly people who are:

  • Accessing Medicaid
  • In need of at-home care for many years
  • Not living in a state with a cash and counseling program

The family caregiver may want to consider getting certified at the local community college to become a home care provider. The process takes a few months, but will enable the caregiver to receive funds from Medicaid for helping your loved one. The caregiver will need to pass both Medicaid and state certification requirements.

Contact your local Medicaid, human services or social services department for further information. Call the Eldercare Locator at 800-677-1116 for further information on training programs in your area.

An additional upside of this strategy is that in a short period of time you’ll build a skillset that will provide you with job security for life. The need for at-home caregivers will only rise over the next twenty years.


Taking Advantage of Employer Benefits and Tax Breaks

There are some smaller financial breaks a family caregiver may be eligible for to help replace a portion of their lost income:

  • Claim your parents on your taxes: If you can prove that you are covering over 50 percent of your parents’ costs, you can claim them as dependents on your taxes. This will reduce your taxes by $3,300.
  • Check with your employer: 25 to 50 percent of employers offer some form of eldercare assistance services for employees, according to the Human Resource Institute. Services can include referrals, dependent flexible spending accounts, eldercare leave, and flextime arrangements.
  • Find state-specific benefits: Depending on your income level, state social programs may offer special caregiver services tailored to you. Check here for more information.


When It’s Not Possible to Pay a Caregiver

In many occasions family caregivers won’t get fully paid. The difficult truth is that it’s often impossible to come up with an extra $30,000 to $70,000 per year to pay the caregiver when family finances are already strained.

If this is the case, think about other ways to say “thank you.” Here are some options:

  • Offer to step in: Cover for few days at a time or for one evening each week. This can have a big impact on the caregiver’s stress level.
  • Get part-time help: Look into hiring an outside caregiver for a few hours a week. Giving the family caregiver time to sleep, do errands or just relax can go a long way.
  • Arrange a dinner: Publically acknowledge the caregiver’s effort in front of friends and family. They deserve to be recognized.
  • Pay for a vacation: Pool your money with that of other family members to book a trip for the caregiver. It doesn’t need to be extravagant—the gesture will go a long way.
  • Express it with words: Tell the caregiver how much you appreciate his or her hard work.

Finally, don’t forget the option of offering partial payment. Even a little financial support can help and make the caregiver feel appreciated.

Take Action Now!

  • Write down what option is most appropriate for your situation
  • Write down three people you want to speak to about this
  • Write down the date by which you will speak to them

You must take action. Just knowing a high-level fact doesn’t get you anywhere. Take the first step and feel great!

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Published: December 15, 2014
By: JP Adams

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One Response to Get Paid! 4 Alternative Strategies To Earn Money As An At Home Caregiver

  1. Shannon says:

    I especially enjoyed the section on how we can help those who are the principal caregivers for a terminally ill person.

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