Caregiver's Home Companion

Posted July 10, 2008

Ask An Expert

Finances: Possible Resources for Family Caregiver Payment

Q. I suffered a stroke in January of 2007, with left side weakness. I am capable of using my right side 100%. My eldest son is my caregiver 24/7. I compensate him monthly from my Social Security disability, but how can I secure monies for him directly?

Pamela F., Grand Blanc, Michigan.

A. Without knowing more about your specific situation, I have little to offer in terms of ideas or resources for providing funds for your son who provides you with 24/7 caregiver support.

In hopes of providing some ideas, I'll outline some options in the hope that something here may be of value.

1. Medicaid Choice -- For healthcare consumers on Medicaid, Michigan does provide some direct funding for family members whose care helps to keep a loved one from being admitted to a nursing home. Researching what is known as the MI Choice program can be done through the state Medicaid department.

2. Elder Services -- If you are 60 years of age or older, it's always worthwhile to check with your local senior center, the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging at or 517-373-8230 about any existing or new programs that may provide financial assistance to family caregivers. Even if you do not find programs that will pay your son for his services, you may find that you qualify for services or care which will reduce his need for providing 24/7 care or which can help offset expenses thereby freeing more of your income to be used for payment for your son.

3. Use of Assets -- From your letter, I don't know whether you have any savings or other assets that might be used to help pay your son for caregiver services, but if you do have assets then talking to a financial planner might be a good next step. A financial planner could assist in determining current and projected expenses and help determine if any amount of your assets could be used or allocated at a later time as compensation to your son. 

I hope something here will prove helpful. 

This answer is provided by Paula S. McCarron, a writer with more than 20 years of experience in healthcare, including nursing homes and hospice. Her writing includes extensive reporting on caregiver compensation issues. She lives in Chelmsford, Massachusetts.

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