Getting Paid for Family Caregiving

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Good news appears to be on the horizon for America’s 40 million family caregivers, as the Senate recently passed the RAISE Family Caregivers Act. Why create a national caregiving strategy? Some of the goals of this plan include: providing training for family caregivers, identifying ways to increase financial security for family caregivers, collecting and sharing information about innovative family caregiving models, and many other points that would help to strengthen the support surrounding this large, diverse and constantly growing population.

According to a 2016 report from the AARP, here’s a glimpse into how family caregiving has impacted out of pocket expenses across America in recent years:

  • Family caregivers spend an average of $6,954/year or approximately 20% of their income.
  • More than 75% of family caregivers incur out of pocket expenses because of family caregiving.
  • Hispanic/Latino & low-income caregivers spend almost 50% of their total income on family caregiving.
  • Family caregivers also sacrificed a significant amount of personal savings & spending, saving less for retirement, and taking unpaid time off at work.

So instead of losing money on this loving effort, how can family caregivers potentially get paid to care for a loved one until there’s an official national plan in place? Here are several options worth exploring, as suggested by a 2017 Forbes article:

  1. Review your aging loved one’s long term care insurance policy with an insurance agent, as some allow for family members to be paid.

  2. Consider working out a personal care agreement or private contract with your loved one as long as it won’t cause additional legal or financial strain for either party.

  3. Investigate your state’s Medicaid program as many allow for family members or friends to be hired by eligible older adults.

  4. Paid family leave is currently offered in three states: California, New Jersey & Rhode Island. These programs enable employees to request paid leave for major life events; several other states are slated to introduce similar laws in the coming years.

Take a moment to think about your own family caregiving circumstances. Are they short-term? Long-term? What kind of plan would benefit you most?