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Get Paid to Take Care of a Family Member With Disability: 9 Options for (2024)

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Do you need financial support for a disabled family member? You’re not alone! Many families nationwide share the same concern.

The good news is that there are proven ways to get paid to take care of a family member with a disability. Most are government-sponsored, while a few are private contracts.

This article will show nine different options you can explore, including the potential amount you’ll receive when you qualify.

Get Paid to Take Care of a Family Member With Disability

We’ve included an overview of our top picks below. For detailed information on each pick, scroll down.

  1. Veteran Directed Care Program
  2. Medicaid Self-Directed Care
  3. Long-Term Care Insurance
  4. Tax Credits and Reimbursements
  5. State Government Programs
  6. Aid and Attendance Benefits and Housebound Allowance
  7. Private or Personal Care Agreement
  8. Home and Community-Based Services
  9. Social Security Disability Insurance

Can You Get Paid to Take Care of a Family Member With Disability?

Yes, you can. With the nation’s aging population, the demand for family caregivers, alongside other personal care services, remains high.

Unfortunately, not all families can afford professionals, which is why some people look for options to get paid to care for their parents instead of paying someone else to do it. This is where state programs, non-government organizations, and personal agreements come into play.

As long as you qualify for each option’s criteria, you’ll get financial assistance or extra non-monetary perks for being a family caregiver.

How Much Can You Make by Taking Care of a Family Member With Disability?

ZipRecruiter records a national average of $15 an hour for family caregivers in the U.S. This equals around $30,000 in annual pay. Location and experience also impact annual earnings, up to $41,500 a year.

Then again, these figures are based on regular employment, where families hire you to care for their family members. Earnings from government-sponsored programs and other benefits vary per state and coverage, which we’ll tackle later in this article.

What You’ll Need to Get Paid for Taking Care of a Family Member With Disability

Caring for a family member has several requirements, but here are the basic elements you must prepare before signing up for any program:

  • Access to Federal Program: Not all states have access to government programs. Contact your state department to check if your location qualifies for a specific benefit.
  • Fixed Schedule: Unlike most side hustles you can do from home, caregiving doesn’t offer much time flexibility. Routine is crucial for a care recipient, which means you must block off specific times when you can offer your personal care services.
  • Communication Skills: Care providers must learn to understand the needs of their patients, including non-verbal cues. You must assess your communication competence before jumping into the task. Remember that patients may not always be able to express their needs. It’s your job to ask them and offer support proactively.
  • Excellent Health Condition: Most, if not all, paid programs require proof that you’re physically and mentally capable of becoming a caregiver for a family. This may request medical records as part of the eligibility assessment process.
  • Caregiver Training: While state certifications aren’t required for family caregivers, you may need to acquire this if you start providing basic medical services like drug administration.

Where to Get Paid to Take Care of a Disabled Family Member

There are several options to get paid as a family caregiver. Here are nine of the most accessible ways to get started:

1. Veteran Directed Care Program

Is your disabled family member a war veteran? This option should be on top of your list, as it specifically caters to veterans’ long-term home care service needs.

Start by reaching out to your local VA social worker for assessment. They’ll help you identify services that fit the patient’s unique needs.

After screening and approval, a monthly stipend will be granted to the veteran, which can then be used to pay for family caregiving services.

How Much You Can Make

Rates vary per state, but the salary range can run between $8 to $21 an hour. You can also refer to this monthly stipend fact sheet for a sample calculation of how VAs determine monthly allowances.

What Makes This Option Great

This program is open to all veterans enrolled in the VA healthcare system, so eligibility doesn’t require too many technicalities. It’s also tax-free.

  • Typical Fees and Commission: N/A
  • Typical Payment Methods: Veterans Benefits Banking Program (VBBP), direct deposits, credit unions

2. Medicaid Self-Directed Care

Medicaid’s self-directed service is a federal program but is implemented and named by each state. This means varied guidelines for eligibility as well as inclusions.

Eligible care recipients can choose the kind of service they want to be paid by the program, including the wage of hiring a family caregiver.

How Much You Can Make

This differs per state, but the reported salary range runs between $9 to $31, including overtime hours. Contact your local Medicaid office for a breakdown of how much they pay for family caregivers.

What Makes This Option Great

The self-directed option is ideal if you want to have more control over the kind of care package you want for your loved ones. As a nationwide service with independent offices per state, finding options within your locality is easy.

  • Typical Fees and Commission: Mandated state taxes
  • Typical Payment Methods: Bank transfer or alternative state-approved methods

3. Long-Term Care Insurance

Does your elderly family member have long-term insurance? In that case, calling the provider and confirming if the policy pays family caregivers is recommended.

Most insurance companies only pay formal caregivers or licensed professionals affiliated with caregiving facilities and agencies. Others provide a cash indemnity payment method, which pays the policyholder his full monthly benefit.

The member can then allocate this amount to hire family members and pay them the average caregiver hourly rate.

How Much You Can Make

Policy owners can get up to 4% monthly benefit from their life insurance sum insured.

For example, if their life insurance is valued at $100,000, their care benefit will be $4,000 monthly. Recipients can then allocate a portion of this to serve as their salary.

What Makes This Option Great

Insurance companies have a dedicated team of claim specialists who process member benefits. This helps in speeding up the process of getting financial assistance.

Since policyholders have already undergone the initial underwriting process, you won’t have to submit as much documentation compared to government-financed benefits.

  • Typical Fees and Commission: Transaction fees and applicable taxes, unique to each insurance provider
  • Typical Payment Methods: Check, direct credit to a bank account

4. Tax Credits and Reimbursements

While not a regular source of income, this option is worth mentioning if you’re expecting to shell out personal cash to cover the cost of caring for a family member.

Compensation will be in the form of tax credits when you file taxes each year. Various credits and deductions apply to specific care scenarios like medical expense costs, child and dependent care credit, and elderly or disabled credit.

How Much You Can Make

You can get up to a $3,000 tax credit or around 30% of the total documented expense in excess of $2,000 a year.

What Makes This Option Great

Tax credits are great for family members who can afford caregiving expenses but still want to get a portion of their total costs credited to them every year.

  • Typical Fees and Commission: N/A
  • Typical Payment Methods: Direct deposit to your nominated bank account

5. State Government Programs

This option works hand in hand with the Medicaid program and varies in benefit inclusion per state. The idea is to provide temporary compensation for care expenses while you figure out appropriate long-term services for disabled family members.

For example, the District of Columbia Caregivers’ Institute (DCCI) offers benefits such as monthly care reimbursements, support groups, and case management.

Qualifications vary per state and program, so you’ll have to coordinate with your local Medicaid office to assist you in handpicking applicable programs.

How Much You Can Make

This one depends on what program you qualify for, but here are some sample benefits:

  • California Paid Family Leave (PFL): Grants family caregivers 60 to 70% of their regular weekly salary provided the disabled family member has paid five to 18 months’ worth of his State Disability Insurance.
  • New Jersey Personal Preference Program (PPP): Provides a monthly budget to disabled individuals to employ family caregivers, cleaning services, etc. The reimbursement rate is $15 per hour.

What Makes This Option Great

State programs are great because of their variety. Each region offers multiple plans to provide disabled locals with easier access to long-term care.

Their localized support level is also an advantage, ensuring that you get the best support at closer proximity.

  • Typical Fees and Commission: Varies per state
  • Typical Payment Methods: Through a dedicated account established by your state or as per agreed alternative options

6. Aid and Attendance Benefits and Housebound Allowance

This option is open to all veterans who require close supervision and support to perform daily activities. The benefit is given on top of their military pension, which can be used for medication, family caregiver fees, etc.

Veterans will need to pass the eligibility requirements before they can apply for aid. Once approved, they’ll receive the allowance on a monthly basis.

How Much You Can Make

Aid and Attendance Benefits and Household Allowance pay the veterans, not the caregivers, so your income is subject to discussion.

If part of the agreement is to use the allowance as your caregiver fee, then here’s a quick breakdown of the benefit:

  • Individual veterans – up to $2,229 monthly
  • Veteran with spouse – up to $2,642 monthly
  • Married veterans – up to $3,536 monthly

What Makes This Option Great

Qualifying for this option is one of the most stable financial aid you can get from the government. It’s also tax-free, making it easier to create cash flow projections.

From a caregiver’s point of view, having this benefit guarantees a steady income stream not impacted by changes to a family member’s health condition.

  • Typical Fees and Commission: N/A
  • Payment Methods: Direct deposit to active bank account, Direct Express® or Debit Mastercard®

7. Private or Personal Care Agreement

Does your family have sufficient financial resources to pay for a home health aide? In that case, try exploring a personal agreement option where they hire you as a family caregiver.

It’s like starting a homecare business but focusing on providing it to your loved ones. It’s straightforward and takes off any trust issues your family may have from hiring a third-party service.

How Much You Can Make

According to ZipRecruiter, the median pay for family caregivers in the U.S. is $15 or around $2,659 monthly.

You can modify the amount and agree with your family, preferably with a lawyer who can help draft a contract detailing the service coverage and compensation.

What Makes This Option Great

Becoming your family caregiver is the fastest way to offer personalized care services. Aside from basic training, you can skip preparing all the documents required by other options we have on this list.

You’ll also have more room to negotiate your rate. If you’re a certified caregiver, charging a higher hourly rate is possible.

  • Typical Fees and Commission: N/A
  • Payment Methods: Bank Transfer, cash, or any method you and your family agree on

8. Home and Community-Based Services

Home and Community-based Services (HCBS) is part of the Medicaid program designed to provide patients with long-term medical support from the comforts of their homes instead of in a nursing facility.

This option is funded through a waiver system that varies per state. Prospective recipients must pass the medical and financial eligibility requirements to receive the service.

Benefit coverage also differs per state but commonly funded services include transportation, house cleaning, meal delivery programs, and safety checks.

How Much You Can Make

Earnings from an HCBS program vary widely because not all grants translate to monetary benefits. Some come in the form of therapies, respite care, nutritional consultation, family counseling, etc.

It will depend on what HCBS program you qualify for in your state. Think of it as saving the money you’d otherwise spend on medical services in exchange for free service from your state.

What Makes This Option Great

HCBS programs foster a person-centered caregiving approach and are ideal for families who want hands-on experience in caring for their family members.

Because it has a wide array of care packages, you’d have an easier way to identify which fits a patient’s need. You can also tap professional consultants free of charge to help you come up with an efficient care plan.

  • Typical Fees and Commission: N/A
  • Payment Methods: Often translates to state-paid services instead of direct monetary compensation

9. Social Security Disability Insurance

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program is a benefit available to everyone who’s paid their Social Security taxes from any income generated before disablement.

To be eligible, a disabled member must at least satisfy two critical requirements:

  1. A medical condition that falls under Social Security’s definition of disability.
  2. Worked in jobs covered by Social Security

Once the patient qualifies, he’ll receive a monthly disability benefits payment for a year or more until he can work again.

If he’s reached his full retirement age, the benefit automatically converts into his retirement benefits. Recipients can use these monetary benefits to pay care providers like yourself for daily assistance.

How Much You Can Make

SSDI doesn’t pay caregivers directly, so the amount you’ll get depends on the fee agreement between you and the family member receiving your care.

The maximum SSDI benefit as of 2023 is $3,267 per month. However, most recipients don’t get this much, with the current average payout only running at $1,358 monthly.

What Makes This Option Great

SSDI is a great supplementary financial assistance for any qualified recipients. A disabled family member has direct control over how he uses the money. He can use it for medical treatment, salary for his care providers, etc.

  • Typical Fees and Commission: Varies depending on federal taxes applicable to the recipient’s annual income before disablement
  • Typical Payment Methods: Direct deposit to active bank account, Direct Express® or Debit Mastercard®

Why You Should Consider Getting Paid for Caring a Disabled Family Member

Becoming a family caregiver can be the most rewarding job you can do from home. Here are reasons why you should consider becoming one:

  • Sense of Fulfillment: Caring for a sick family member can boost your sense of purpose. You get to spend time with your loved ones and assist them in their daily activities.
  • Strengthen Family Relationships: The more you spend time with them, the more you get to know them. This sense of companionship mirrors the level of understanding you’ll get, like when using the Papa Elder Care app to converse and provide emotional support to grandpas.
  • Buildup Caregiving Skill Set: Aside from passing the initial certifications, you’ll also learn standard practices like cleaning, driving, administering medications, etc., as you get exposed to your family member’s unique needs.
  • Develop Patience and Empathy: Caring for a disabled family member enhances your sense of empathy towards others. You develop your patience and understanding, knowing you have the strength to make up for their weakness.

Problems With Getting Paid for Taking Care Of a Disabled Family Member

Taking care of disabled family members doesn’t work for everyone. Here are common issues you’ll encounter upon taking on the task:

  • Emotional Toll: A sick and disabled family member can exhibit behavioral changes, impacting your daily relationships with them. Mood swings test your adaptability, which is emotionally exhausting over time.
  • Troubles with Sleep: Caring for a disabled family member can disrupt your sleep cycle, especially if they’re prone to waking up during the wee hours. This results in a lack of sleep, impacting your health.
  • Fatigue: With interrupted sleep comes the tendency for fatigue. Expect to feel exhausted in the first few days of doing the job.
  • Fixed Commitment: Family caregivers must commit to a set schedule to accommodate the disabled family member’s routine. This means lesser flexibility and control of your time.

How to Get Paid Caring for Disabled Family Members: Step-By-Step Instructions

Family caregiving is a rising star in the care niche within the gig economy. Here are steps on how to get started:

Step 1: Get Appropriate Caregiving Training

Getting certified boosts your chances of getting higher pay, but it’s primarily essential to ensure you do great at supporting your family member in need.

Core skills you need to learn include:

  • Home Safety Training
  • First Aid
  • Patient Hygiene and Personal Care
  • Communication
  • Nutrition

Step 2: Talk It Out With Your Family Members

Providing in-home care means sacrificing a huge chunk of your ‘me-time,’ so talking it out with your family is recommended.

Be honest about how much time you can commit and if you’d need someone else to swap schedules with you on specific days. Polishing out your schedule ensures your disabled family member gets optimum support without sacrificing your self-care.

Step 3: Choose a Paid Method and Check Your Eligibility

Select from the list we’ve shared and see which benefits your state supports.

Remember that government programs often set limits to the amount of aid you’ll receive. While you might be eligible for multiple programs, the state reserves the right to only grant you one or two.

Step 4: Prepare the Required Documentation

Prepare the required documents once you’ve selected an option and verified your eligibility. Most programs need complete medical reports with disability diagnoses, patient income reports, and insurance policy documents.

Step 5: Submit Requirements and Track Payout Schedule

Send all the required documents to appropriate agencies and clarify the waiting period.

Some programs can pay you in a few weeks, while others can take months. Ask for an estimated payout date to help you assess the potential expense you’ll have to pay from your pocket during the wait.

Things to Consider When Getting Paid As a Family Caregiver

Offering your personal care services is a huge decision, and here are crucial items to think about before committing to the task:

1. Time and Commitment

Caring for the sick and elderly takes a significant chunk of your time, so you must decide how much you can offer from the get-go.

If you have a full-time job, consider mapping out your free time for the entire week. How much of it can you commit to caregiving?

Remember that some programs may require a specific number of hours as an eligibility requirement. Get your schedule in order and be honest about how much extra time you can commit.

2. Care Services Eligibility

Not all programs pay family caregivers across every state. When deciding to become a paid caregiver, consider listing your options to know which fits your eligibility. This also helps you prepare all the supporting documents required for the benefit.

3. Support and Assistance from Other Family Members

Caring for disabled family members requires more than just physical aptitude. You’ll need to be mentally and emotionally prepared, too.

One way to do this is to talk it out with certain family members. Discuss the care plan and the assistance you’ll need through the process.

Factors such as daily living expenses, days off, planned vacations, etc., must be plotted ahead to guarantee a smooth transition in case you need someone to take over while you’re away.

Frequently Asked Questions

What State Pays the Most for Family Caregivers?

As per Zippia’s 2023 report, Massachusetts is the best state for family caregivers in terms of salary, with an average annual pay of $53,236.

Vermont comes second at $51,807 a year, followed by New Jersey at $49,200.

Which Country Pays Caregivers the Best?

The US and Australia, the most popular destinations for caregiver jobs, have average annual pay of $38,076 and $38,196.20, respectively, for entry-level caregivers.

Japan and the U.K. come close with an average annual pay of around $35,000. Canada follows close at $33,000 per year.

Similar Ways to Get Paid

If becoming a family caregiver isn’t something you want to try out now, here are alternative side gig ideas you can explore:

  • Get Paid to Talk to Lonely People: Are you skilled at building rapport with strangers? These platforms help you earn money by talking to lonely people about any topic!
  • Get Paid to Be a Foster Parent: Open your homes to less fortunate kids and get government and organization-sponsored grants, stipends, or allowances.
  • Get Paid to Live In a House: Get paid by temporarily staying at other people’s houses and being a caregiver, babysitter, dog watcher, etc.

Wrapping Up

You can get paid by caring for a disabled family member even without extensive professional training. Use our list to sift through benefit programs and assess your eligibility.

Have you tried applying for any of the choices we’ve mentioned? Share your experience, and let us know what you recommend!

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