Home Caregiving Can I Get Paid to Take Care of My Disabled Child?

Can I Get Paid to Take Care of My Disabled Child?

by Derrick
paid to take care of my disabled child feature

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.  

Check With Your State for Services

Readers are constantly emailing asking for answers to their unique situation, and nine times out of ten, I have to tell them to contact their state’s resource (see our resources by state page for contact information). The problem is that everyone’s situation is different and every state will often have different sets of benefits, or even if they do have the same types of benefits, who qualifies may differ.

Take Minnesota for example, they offer a Family Support Grant for qualifying families. This is a grant that offers up to $3,133.99 per year for children with a certified disability. These are grants that can help pay for products to ease the burden of caregiving or for services to help children with disabilities who are living at home. Will it pay you as a parent, no, but it could help ease the financial burden.

The point here is that not every state has this. Minnesota does. So, it’s imperative that you seek out help within your state. This article, while I hope it is helpful and informative, cannot possibly cover every situation for every individual in every state. That said, I hope the following informs parents struggling to take care of disabled children.

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, particularly when it involves a parent caring for a child. The prohibition can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations, Section 440.167 Personal Care Services, which states:

Unless defined differently by a State agency for purposes of a waiver granted under part 441, subpart G of this chapter –

(a) Personal care services means services furnished to an individual who is not an inpatient or resident of a hospital, nursing facility, intermediate care facility for individuals with intellectual disabilities, or institution for mental disease that are –

(1) Authorized for the individual by a physician in accordance with a plan of treatment or (at the option of the State) otherwise authorized for the individual in accordance with a service plan approved by the State;

(2) Provided by an individual who is qualified to provide such services and who is not a member of the individual’s family; and

(3) Furnished in a home, and at the State’s option, in another location.

(b) For purposes of this section, family member means a legally responsible relative.[42 FR 47902, Sept. 11, 1997]


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 Help?

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. 

Can I Use Paid Family Leave to Care for My 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. Of course, paid family leave does not necessarily mean you get paid for taking care of your child, but it does mean you can still receive pay from your job – if allowed.

Will a Church Help Me Care for 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. This is not common, however.

Paid to Take Care of My Disabled Child Recap

a disabled child and her mother
Caregiving is not an easy job, but who is better suited than a parent?

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.

People wondering if they can get paid to take care of their disabled child may – frankly – find themselves frustrated at the limited options. However, 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.

Further Reading

If you’d like to learn more about caring for a disabled child, caregiving, and the costs associated with it, consider these books on the subject:

Please share your success and challenges in the comments section. It may help other parents struggling to care for children with disabilities.


Yolanda Smith September 23, 2022 - 3:59 am

I am a parent of a 23yr old who is incapacitated and totally dependent for all of her needs. I live in the state of NewYork. Does any state provide any financial assistance for me to care for her at home?

Derrick September 23, 2022 - 8:46 am

You should definitely have more options when caring for an adult, particularly if your adult child receives Medicaid services (may be called something else in NY, but it’s still Medicaid). Check with your state’s Department of Human Services (or the equivalent). We have a state resources page on the right sidebar of our site where you can navigate to NY resources.

Marilyn September 16, 2022 - 4:53 pm

We live in Houston Tx have 4. Special needs children 2 are adults and 2 Are 12 yrs and 9 yrs both total care and in wheelchairs, we came from Oregon to Texas for better medical care, I was paid home care worker for my children and paid $ 18 an hour, does anyone know where I can find needed information in Texas

Julie February 11, 2022 - 1:20 pm

Is their help in Illinois? Who do I contact? Thank you in advance

Derrick February 13, 2022 - 10:03 am

Try calling 211 and/or your state’s version of Department of Health and Human Services.

Angela April 6, 2022 - 6:09 pm

My friend tried this. He was working but had his wife care for their disabled son who is 24. The state does not allow this and was considered fraud and now my friend is facing a $50,000 fine plus a mandatory jail time of 6-9 months. Make sure it’s done the right way. They will come and make random visits without notifying you first.

Lynn April 12, 2022 - 2:49 pm

Perhaps depends on the state. I know two grandmothers who have been paid by their respective states to be the child’s ‘relief’ caregivers. How many subsidized hours varied by state.

Katheryn Slater January 27, 2022 - 11:45 pm

I have two Severe medically fragile disable triplets that I would like to apply for the grant program for the both of you

Yesenia Lopez November 15, 2021 - 9:43 pm

in home supportive services are here in california. check your state for the same or similar. but make sure your child is on ssi/ssdi first and apply for in home supportive services

Eve Boone November 10, 2021 - 9:13 pm

My child is bedridden with a debilitating chronic bone pain disease and I’m disabled with chronic pain but she’s 15 and can’t choose me until she’s 21. I’m the only caregiver she has and wants. I’m going to care for her as long as I have breath in me. Just can’t believe there’s no way for the system to work for us.

Eve Boone November 10, 2021 - 9:01 pm

Has anyone tried something like a buddy system? Maybe parents close by with similar situations become caregivers for each other’s child, and still be able to monitor their own, since the primary parent is exempt? Idk seems so hopeless.

MY Jacobs Ladder LLC October 6, 2021 - 9:41 pm

Any parents who wants to get paid to watch their special need child in NJ and is DDD approved,can contact my agency.

Contact # 732-903-8531
Yvonne Cocchiarella
Michael Jacobs

Derrick October 7, 2021 - 8:25 am

Michael, can you provide a link to your site and the governing state/federal authority that allows for such reimbursement? I’d like to add details to the article. Thanks.

Yvette July 22, 2022 - 9:55 pm

I have a Down Syndrome son whose 14, non verbal, and a freshman would I be able to qualify for being able to stay home and care for him myself. I currently work in the school as a Sped Aide but want to retire when he graduates and get paid since that will be my only source of income. I’ll be 56 by the time he graduates.

Jacqueline L Mellgoza October 2, 2021 - 5:04 am

Single mother with 2 kids…2yr &12yrs. My 12yr old son suffers from multiple disorders starting from young age including ADHD, Autism, learning disabilities & behaviour issues since Kindergarten (IEP, Speech therapists, below grade level reading score) and was recently diagnosed with type1 diabetes last year. I dont have family or friends to help me nor have support from my sons father/family. I drive 4hrs to my sons diabetic specialists every 6mths being our small town unable to accommodate my sons medical needs. Other than Medical and CCS…what programs are available to my son and myself? Im desperate and currently unemployed..which programs and financial assistance could we receive?

Derrick October 2, 2021 - 6:46 am

A real challenge, Jacqueline. Sorry for your situation. It’s important to reach out to possible solutions within your community/state. Each state is different in what they offer for support. The unfortunate reality is that there is often little help, but try contacting your state department of Health and Human Services to start. You can also try calling 211 – https://www.211.org/

Hannah I McCoy August 5, 2021 - 7:04 pm

It looks like a bunch of helpless comments seems like no one’s getting the help they need the special needs services and the way special needs parents in this country are treated as absolute ridiculousness.

Paula Daylor December 11, 2021 - 9:58 pm

I agree with Hannah that is ridiculous we are treated as parents

Doreen Meyer July 11, 2021 - 11:55 am

I’m still waiting for an answer can I get money looking after my downsydrome child and I apply for a council house never responded to me

Doreen May 20, 2021 - 12:05 pm

I want to know if I can get caregivers money to for looking after my downsydrome child I apply for a council house I give them doctor’s letters and a letter from the social worker I’m still waiting for help I’m staying with my sister in a small room window broken broken I just want some help

Thenjiwe May 18, 2021 - 12:53 am

Hi I just want to find out if is there any help I am living with my son age 7 he can’t work every day I must help him to the school transport for about 30 to 55min to get to transport and I nt working because I have to take care for him

Derrick May 18, 2021 - 7:43 am

You’ll really have to check with state/local resources. Your school, state Health and Human Services offices, things of that nature. What help there is often depends on your financial situation and what’s available in your area.

Doreen Meyer April 4, 2021 - 6:40 am

I’m a single parent I have downsydrome and not working she has a heart problem is it possible to help me to get money looking after her

Sabrina Fugate March 29, 2021 - 11:19 pm

My son is autistic it’s had for me to keep a job as a single mother someone had told me I can get paid for being a care giver for my son is this right ?

Derrick March 31, 2021 - 11:31 am

Hi, Sabrina. I think there are too many variables to be able to answer your question without knowing your situation and your state’s regulations. I would recommend calling your state’s Health and Human Services department and asking there.

Barbara Rayman March 27, 2021 - 12:29 pm

I’m a grandmother of an Autistic 12 yr old boy who is extremely attached to me , he is non verbal and we are having a problem with toilet training , I work 40 hours a week and want to spend more time helping him with the issues he is having a hard time with , I love him so much and would like for him to be able to live as normal as he could when he is an adult , are the programs that can help me financially so I can spend more time teaching him ?

Derrick March 28, 2021 - 10:59 am

It might be tough. If he is on Medicaid you might have some options. Have you tried speaking with your state department of Health and Human Services?

Linda Roberson March 12, 2021 - 1:40 pm

My son has severe autism. He’s nonverbal. I’m unable to work cause I need to be able to take care of my son. Having someone else be the caretaker for my son is not an option because of his communication skills. He wouldn’t be able to express if someone was treating him badly.

Amber Moore April 29, 2022 - 1:26 am

Linda, my son is 10 and we feel exactly the same way about other watching him. Stay strong guys, for our special babies❤️

Doreen Meyer February 28, 2021 - 1:56 am

I’m single parent dont work I’m looking after my down syndrome child and have heart problems

Kathleen2c68@gmail.com February 18, 2021 - 11:43 am

Is there help like this in Wi ?

Derrick February 19, 2021 - 5:00 pm

I would recommend contacting your state’s ADRC: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/adrc/index.htm
I hope that helps!

Demetris Newton November 9, 2021 - 1:17 pm

My child is disabled she has autism and I adhd I cannot work because she runs away can I get paid to be her care giver

Derrick November 10, 2021 - 7:44 am

The only way to know for sure is to check with the resources in your locale/state, but odds are probably not – unfortunately.

Maricela Romero May 12, 2022 - 1:53 am

I’m reading all these messages from everyone and it just breaks my heart that not all states offer help for parents that have a child with special needs. I live in California LA county and we have IHSS and the pay is great, but I’m originally from Chicago and wish so much that Illinois offered the same benefits as they have here. My daughter is 10 nonverbal and doesn’t walk and just the thought of leaving her with different providers to care for her freaks me out because there’s so much abuse especially with children that can’t tell you if they were mistreated. I wish all states offered the same help like California.


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