3 Ways You Can Get Paid for Caring for a Family Member

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  • On average, family members spent a quarter of their income caring for adult family members in 2021.
  • Federal and state programs will pay caregivers who care for family members.
  • Some life insurance policies can be leveraged to pay caregivers.

The government wants to support caregivers -- and caregivers deserve to be paid.

If your mom is losing her memory and in need of extra help, your first instinct may be to respond to the situation by taking it upon yourself to care for her in-home. It's a time-consuming task, one borne out of love and affection.

It's also expensive. On average, family members who care for adult relatives spent 26% of their income on caregiving activities in 2021, according to the American Association of Retired Persons. Yikes.

Many would-be caregivers don't know that the government has set up many public programs to help pay for care for aging or in-need family members. These programs are free to enroll in and typically require applications for funding.

Here are three ways you can get paid for caring for a family member.

1. Medicaid

Medicaid is a federal and state health insurance program for low-income Americans. Programs under Medicaid's umbrella offer ways for seniors or at-need folks to pay family caregivers. A person must be enrolled in Medicaid to qualify for these programs. If they're not already enrolled, they can do so by either:

Medicaid eligibility requirements are state-specific. Applicants' age, income, number of family members, pregnancy status, and disability status are all considered.

Apply for waivers

Many states offer Medicaid waivers. These waivers pay people daily, tax-free money to stay at home instead of moving to an assisted living facility. For example, California residents can apply for the Assisted Living Waiver (ALW), the Multi-Purpose Senior Services Waiver (MSS), and more.

Apply for IHSS (California)

California residents can apply for in-home assistant services (IHSS), a Medi-Cal program. The program pays eligible people, including the elderly and disabled, to remain at home. Residents can apply through their county IHSS office.

2. State-based programs

Some states, like California, offer additional non-Medicaid programs to help out caregivers. These programs typically allow people to choose their caregivers. Programs may pay for childcare, disability, senior, or veteran care. Consider checking out your state's programs for details on how to apply.

3. Life insurance

Some whole life insurance policies allow you to convert some or all of the death benefit into cash for long-term care. Term life insurance does not give policyholders this option.

Money taken out of life insurance policies is not free -- it's paid for with the money beneficiaries would have been paid in the event of the policyholder's death. The pros of getting paid by life insurance include:

  • Immediate funding
  • A better deal than canceling the policy

If you're over 65 and looking for life insurance, check out the best life insurance for seniors. Policies for seniors are reasonably priced and offer flexible options.

Caring for a family member can be a full-time job in and of itself. Look into how federal and state resources can support you and your loved ones. Most of us will care for a loved one at some point, and the costs are steep. Let's make the most of our options.

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