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Modern Estate Planning Blog

Elder Law & Special Needs Planning

Compensation for Being Your Parent’s Caregiver | Folsom Elder Law Attorney

May 29, 2017

If you are providing care to your aging parent, you are probably doing it without being asked and without compensation. It probably isn’t on your mind at all. But, I can tell you as a Folsom elder law attorney, it should be.

As a society, we value our elders and provide the care they need without being asked just as they did for us. In most cases, the last thing on a caregiver’s mind is being compensated for their time. We value your commitment, but you should know that getting compensation for helping them might actually benefit everyone in the long-run. This is because paying you may help them become eligible for Medi-Cal (Medicaid) – and once eligible they can get the professional care they need.

Medi-Cal is a means-tested benefit. If you have too much income or too many assets (money or property), you will not be eligible. To become eligible, you may need to “spend-down” assets to a certain level. Paying you, as the caregiver, is a perfectly legal way to do that. However, it is best to set up a caregiver contract to keep the terms of the agreement clear.

The caregiver contract should be carefully drafted so that there is no confusion about whether your parent simply gave you the money. (Medi-Cal will look back 2-½ years (5 years for other states) to see if the recipient gave away money to become eligible – a BIG no, no!) However, if the money is earned in exchange for providing caregiver services, then it is acceptable.

Please consider these points when creating a caregiver contract:

  • Contact an experienced elder law attorney in Sacramento County to ensure that the compensation will count toward the spending down of their assets.
  • Include a detailed list of the caregiver’s responsibility including transportation, laundry, cleaning, etc.
  • Make sure the compensation is inline with what professional caregivers charge.
  • The caregiver must report the compensation as income earned on their taxes.
  • The parent will be responsible for paying household employee taxes.

If you are caring for an aging parent – especially if that parent is likely to need long-term nursing home care – call our Folsom elder law attorneys right away for a free consultation.

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Very professional, comprehensive service and extremely valuable. Heather and her team are very knowledgeable and we feel they have our best interests at heart. They make uncomfortable decision conversations possible and manageable. Working with Heather we were able to focus our attention on important issues that we questioned or purposely avoided for too long. Now that these questions are answered and our family is covered, it's a wonderful feeling.

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