It is not uncommon for elderly parents to need part-time or full-time care and for their adult children to want to provide it. Though most parents would prefer to be taken care of by loved ones, and many children would be pleased to oblige, most adult children do not have time to provide the necessary care because they work at other jobs to pay their bills. Recently, however, in many states, including Massachusetts, there are now programs that help family members by paying them to care for their parents.
Navigating the bureaucracy to make use of such programs is often challenging which makes it invaluable to have the help of a capable elder law attorney. In Southeastern Massachusetts, a great many people look to the experienced lawyers of Surprenant & Beneski, P.C. Below are a few avenues that may enable you to earn while tending to your elderly parent. Contact us to discuss your best option.
Medicaid (MassHealth) Personal Care Services
Medicaid Personal Care Services in Massachusetts assists with activities of daily living (ADLs) for elderly individuals who need help with tasks like bathing, dressing, and meal preparation. As a boon to many families, these services can be provided by family members as well as by other caregivers. In either case, the caregivers are directly reimbursed by Medicaid.
Eligibility for Medicaid Personal Care Services is based on the patient’s medical and financial needs. It should be noted that family caregivers must meet the same training and certification requirements as other caregivers. The hourly rate paid is determined by the caregiver’s qualifications and the level of care the patient requires.
Medicaid Caregiver Exemption
While the Medicaid Caregiver Exemption does not provide the adult child with direct payment for services, it is profitable for the family since it allows the elderly individual to transfer their home to the family member without losing Medicaid eligibility. In other words, the exemption preserves family assets by preventing Medicaid from recovering monies for past services from the estate when the elderly person passes away.
To be eligible for this exemption, the caregiver must have been the primary caregiver of the elderly parent for at least two years.
Adult Foster Care
Adult Foster Care (AFC) program allows an elderly individual to live in their caregiver’s home-like environment while receiving care and support. Because there is no hard and fast rule, the caregiver may be the patient’s adult child, another relative, or a close friend. Caregivers in the AFC program receive a tax-free stipend in compensation for the patient’s room and board, as well as for the services provided. Once again, the amount is variable, depending on the level of care the patient requires.
Another Alternative: HCBS Waivers
Although not a pathway to payment for caring for your elderly parent, Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) waivers are significant since they enable older loved ones to remain in their homes and communities instead of moving into nursing homes or other institutional settings.
The range of services provided by HCBS waivers includes personal care, respite care, and case management to eligible parties, relieving some of the pressures on adult children who have assumed caregiving duties. To qualify for HCBS waivers, the elderly person must meet certain income and functional requirements.
Less Formal Arrangements for Elder Care by a Loved One
In many cases, parent and child come to a private agreement in which the parent pays the adult child to provide care for them either in the parent’s home or in the home of the adult child. Such arrangements often work out very well as long as the terms of cohabiting and caregiving are clarified. At Surprenant & Beneski, we recommend a well-crafted Caregiver Contract.
Talk to One of Our Experienced Elder Law Attorneys Today
As your parent ages, circumstances change, and you may have to assume a role that is at least partially parental. Though the challenges this period brings may feel insurmountable, remember that we are here to help. Contact us now for an in-depth understanding of what you’re going through laced with excellent legal advice.