Medicaid Payments To Caregivers

Is there a way to receive Medicaid payments if you are a caregiver?

It is a topic that more and more is coming to the forefront of our society. And as our population ages and more people become seniors, this means that their children will become their primary caregivers on a more frequent basis. 

And for those caregivers, who currently number 34,000,000 in the United States1 spend out of pocket an average of $5,531 a year as part of their caregiving responsibilities1. And while some of these expenses are tax deductible2, this still amounts to a huge burden on the caregiving population. 

Medicaid Payments 

Now, Medicaid payments to caregivers do occur. Here are the particulars. If the person you are caring for has been accepted into Medicaid, you can qualify for direct cash payments through Medicaid’s Cash and Counseling Program3.

The way that the cash and counseling program works is that it provides direct cash payments for the hiring of personal services, to purchase assistance items like wheelchairs and walkers, and to make home improvements that allow for easier access and mobility for those seniors who have difficulty getting around.

Drawbacks 

The biggest drawback to receiving Medicaid payments as a caregiver is that as I write this, only 15 states have the Cash and Counseling program… 

Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia.4 

However, from my research it appears that this has been a very successful program because not only does it assist seniors and their caregivers but it also helps to keep the overall costs of the Medicaid program down by keeping seniors out of managed care facilities where the Medicaid costs are far higher. 

As a result, you can expect this program to expand over time, so make sure to check back for updates. And even if your state is not on the list currently, you should inquire with your social worker or state Medicaid office to see if the program has come to your state as well. 

In addition, as a caregiver if the person you are caring for happens to have a long-term care insurance policy that allows for payments to caregivers (so do but not all) you can receive payments through this policy as well. 

Qualifying For Cash and Counseling 

As a joint Federal/State program, the requirements in each state may be slightly different. Normally, after you have been accepted to Medicaid first and then apply for a waiver in order to participate in the cash and counseling program. 

The best thing would be for you to speak to your Medicaid office or social worker for them to give you all the details on a local level.

 

References:

1-http://www.cdc.gov/aging/caregiving/facts.htm

2-http://www.forbes.com/sites/ashleaebeling/2011/12/08/tax-breaks-for-caregiving-expenses-help-sandwich-generation/

3- http://www.bc.edu/schools/gssw/nrcpds/cash_and_counseling.html

4- http://quest.mda.org/news/cash-and-counseling-takes-hold

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