Caregiving can be both difficult and expensive. To help with both, you may be wondering, “Can I get paid to take care of my disabled child?”
The short answer is yes, you can get paid to take care of your disabled child, but it may not apply to every caregiver and every child.
The question is a fair one, however, because caregiving can also mean the inability to work a job anywhere else. It’s also a difficult question caregivers ask themselves, because there can be guilt associated with the idea of seeking out reimbursement for parenting. Of course, parenting a disabled child presents different challenges than parenting a non-disabled child does, and that should be recognized.
Caregiving – A Snapshot
About 43.5 million caregivers provide unpaid care each year. More than 14% of these individuals are caring for their own children. Besides the physical care aspect, parents have the additional burdens of medical expenses and time constraints.
On average, caregivers each month spend six days assisting with daily living activities, thirteen days on food preparation, shopping, or housekeeping. Thirteen hours each month are devoted to coordinating doctor’s visits and administering medication. Parents who are caretakers for a child under the age of 18 spend nearly 30 hours each week doing caretaking tasks.
With so much time devoted to caretaking, most parents find it difficult to work outside the home. And yet, the medical expenses of a disabled child require a regular income from at least one family member. One study found that over 31% of caregivers have had financial difficulties because of caregiving time. Additionally, caregiving responsibilities for women increase the likelihood that they will need to rely on public assistance or live at or below the poverty level.
So what is a caregiver to do? Certain agencies have realized the extent of the financial pressure on caregivers and created programs designed to provide a small income to offset the burden. When searching out these programs, be sure to look into Medicare, Medicaid, long-term care insurance, the Department of Veterans, and your own employer or church.
Will Medicare Pay Me to Take Care of My Disabled Child?
If your child qualifies for Medicare, some services are covered that can help offset the cost of caring for your child at home. In some instances, Home Health Services provides coverage if certain conditions are met. Medicare does not pay for activities of daily living assistance. To find out if there are home health services available in your area, check with your local state resources.
Will Medicaid Pay Me to Take Care of My Disabled Child?
Medicaid home health services coverage varies between states. Check with your state’s program office to see what services are provided. Typically, Medicaid doesn’t pay for activities of daily living assistance.
However, Medicaid does offer home and community-based service waivers, known as HCBS Waivers. These waivers allow the state to authorize payment for home services to specific groups of individuals, including technology-dependent children and individuals with intellectual disabilities. HCBS waivers can be used to adjust income and resource qualifications for Medicaid in certain instances. HCBS programs provide support for caregivers and a tax-free daily stipend.
If your child is eligible for Medicaid, you may receive assistance from the Cash & Counseling Program. Currently, 15 states offer this provision for those with disabilities. It provides cash to hire and pay caregivers. Check with your local Medicaid office for additional requirements you may need to qualify.
Some states prohibit the payment of caregiving services to relatives. Other states allow some family relationships to receive benefits while denying others. Check with your local Medicaid office to find out what programs are available in your area.
Will Private Insurance Pay Me to Take Care of My Disabled Child?
A long-term care insurance policy often reimburses policyholders a daily amount towards daily living assistance. Usually, this amount is limited. If you or your child has a long-term care insurance policy, check with your agent to determine whether a caretaker stipend is included in the contract.
Will the Department of Veterans Affairs Pay Me to Take Care of My Disabled Child?
If your child is a Veteran, then the Veteran Directed Care program might be an option. This program allows a homebound veteran of any age to receive Home and Community-Based Services for daily living activities. Veterans are given a budget to manage to cover the costs of the services needed. If the eligible veteran cannot manage his or her own finances, then a representative can handle the payments. Veterans can hire whom they wish to provide home-based services, including relatives.
If the Veteran needs daily living assistance, spends a large portion of the day in bed because of injury or illness, has limited eyesight of 5/200 or less, or has been a patient in a nursing home because of the loss of mental or physical abilities, then he or she may be eligible for the VA Aid and Attendance benefits and Housebound allowance. With this allowance, the veteran can pay for caretaking services.
Will My Job Pay Me to Take Care of My Disabled Child?
It’s estimated that about 20% of companies offer some form of paid family leave. You’ll need to check with your human resources department to see what benefits for paid family leave are available to you.
Will My Church Pay Me to Take Care of My Disabled Child?
Taking care of a disabled child is a stressful situation. Many churches provide respite services for caregivers. It just might be worth asking if there is a fund to assist in your child’s care available to you as well.
Although you may feel overwhelmed being the caretaker for your disabled child, you do not need to do everything yourself. Different agencies are available to ease the burden of caregiving, and that includes financially.
There are provisions by both Medicare and Medicaid that might pay you to take care of your disabled child if you meet the qualifications. Some programs allow relatives, including parents, to receive a daily stipend for caretaking services. Other programs require the caretaker to be someone other than a parent.
If your child has become disabled because of their military service, then the Department of Veterans Affairs is your best bet for a little cash assistance. Long-term care insurance policies are also viable options for daily stipends, although the coverage varies according to the type of insurance policy you’ve taken out. Your employment place may have paid family leave that can help you out financially for a period of time. Finally, your church may be a place of solace and respite, which may help you pay for certain aspects of your child’s care.