By Attorney David Engler
Medicare does not have any program to pay a family caregiver. Medicare has only limited coverage for home care, and when it does cover home care it does so through a Medicare-certified home health care agency. It does not pay independent caregivers, family or otherwise.
But that does not mean you are without a solution because most money spent on nursing and home health care comes from the States who pay for Medicaid in partnership with the federal government.
In many states, Medicaid has a program to directly pay a person needing home care, and that person can turn around and use the money to pay a family member (or anyone else) to provide that care. If the person who needs help in order to stay at home rather than go to a nursing home has too many assets; the senior in need might still qualify for such a direct payment program. That’s because in many states eligibility for these programs is extended to people who have low income and assets though not low enough to qualify for Medicaid.
These payments work through a state program, called Passport, Cash and Counseling or other similar name, often run through the state’s Medicaid program. To learn more about these cash assistance programs, contact the local Medicaid office usually run through the local welfare department. (now often called Jobs and Family Services) If your state has a Cash and Counseling or similar state cash assistance program, you can get information about it at a local Medicaid office. To find a local Medicaid office, contact the Eldercare Locator by phone toll-free at 800-677-1116, or online you can go to any search engine and type in “Medicaid” and the name of the state.
Areas of Practice: Family Law, Elder Law, Domestic Relations, Bankruptcy, Criminal Law