Compensation Available for Family Members Acting as Caregivers

In the United States, the elderly population who require the assistance of a caregiver will grow substantially by 2018. In the future, the number of elderly persons may even begin to exceed the number of available caregivers. There have been efforts made throughout the United States to retain a dwindling number of caregivers who have been leaving the field. For many individuals who cannot afford a caregiver, the responsibility may fall on a family member or friend that is close to the elder. This responsibility can have physical, emotional and financial effects on the individual caring for their loved one.

In the United States, more than 70 million people have taken on the responsibility of being a caregiver to an ill, disabled, or elderly individual. According to the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, family caregivers spend an average of 24.4 hours a week providing care, often without compensation. In addition to caring for a loved one, many caregivers also have full-time jobs. This has a tremendous impact on their daily lives, both personally and in the workplace. Due to this, lawmakers are beginning to offer family member caregivers monetary compensation for caring for these individuals in order to help offset the other expenses.

In New York State, the Medicaid program known as Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP) permits a family member to receive compensation for helping their loved one. The caregiver does not have to have previous training in the geriatric care field. However, spouses and parents are not permitted to participate in the program. Like any other home health aide, the caregiver would be responsible for performing tasks such as bathing, feeding, dressing, light cleaning, and administering medications, among other activities.

The benefit of CDPAP is that the caregiver does not have to be registered to work for an agency. He or she is paid by an intermediary authorized by the county or managed care plan. In order to participate in the consumer directed program, an elderly or disabled person must be a New York state resident, qualify for Medicaid, require assistance with daily living or need skilled care.

To start the process in applying for the program, a doctor must complete a Physician’s Order for Services and it must be sent to the local social services office. The number of hours that the elderly or disabled person shall receive for their care is determined by a nurse who will visit the home and determine what he or she deems appropriate. The family may appeal the decision made by the nurse if they believe they should receive more hours than decided by the nurse. Additionally, they may request a Fair Hearing by New York State’s Office of Temporary Assistance (OTDA), where the OTDA may revise the hours.

Oftentimes, caregivers can feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities of taking care of an elderly or disabled loved one on their own. The geriatric care professionals at P&P Medicaid are available to help individuals and their caregivers find a health care solution to meet their needs. We work with the individual as well as their loved ones to develop a comprehensive long-term care strategy that is reassessed on a regular basis. Our geriatric care managers assist with nursing home placement or home healthcare aide management, while advising our clients on choices to protect their income and financial resources. For more information about services or to schedule a consultation, contact our Long Island geriatric care management office at (516) 541-4770.

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