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So, can you get paid to care for your aging parents? Yes—under certain circumstances. But there are important rules to keep in mind. Otherwise, payments to you could end up costing your parents a lot more in the long run.

 Caring for elderly parents can become a family affair. Oftentimes family members question whether parents can “legally” pay for the help they receive from relatives. The short answer is yes, but you’ll need to make sure you follow some important guidelines. OurParents.com recently published an article for handy reference; here are their points on how an elder can pay a relative for care services at home.

  • Gifts. Yes, parents can make gifts to a relative out of appreciation for care and assistance. But be careful. If your parent eventually needs Medicaid to help pay for long-term nursing care, any gifts made within the prior five years could disqualify them. For this reason, gifts may not be a practical answer.
  • Hourly Compensation. It may make more sense to enter into a formal arrangement, whereby your parent employs the caregiver. In this instance, your parent must abide by all the employer-employee laws and regulations. You may need to use a payroll company to handle the paperwork. You’ll also need a detailed caregiver contract to help prove to Medicaid that the payments were legitimate earnings and not gifts, should the issue arise.
  • Government Programs. Many states now have programs that allow seniors to pay family caregivers. Some programs are part of Medicaid and thus limited to those with few financial resources. The most well-known, Cash & Counseling, is available in 15 states.
  • Long-Term Care Insurance. If your parent has long-term care insurance, check to see whether it will cover caregiver services from an adult child. Some policies pay the patient directly, who then can hire anyone to provide care.

Also, if you have questions about your specific situation, please call our office for an elder care consultation.


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