Getting paid to care for someone on Supplemental Security Income requires the SSI recipient to meet certain financial criteria. State programs and resources for caregivers may determine whether you can get paid to care for someone on SSI. Check with local and state agencies to see if an SSI recipient qualifies for government benefits that will pay you. In some instances, the SSI recipient you care for must also receive Medicaid.
SSI is provided by the federal government to supplement income for the aged, disabled and blind. It is funded through general tax revenue, rather than Social Security; therefore, it differs from Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI. Recipients of SSI have little or no income and must use the supplemental income to cover basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter. Because SSI recipients have such modest means, you may need to look into other programs to receive payment for your caretaking.
Medicaid and Cash and Counseling Programs
A cash and counseling program, usually administered through Medicaid but also offered through other programs, provides funds directly to the SSI recipient to pay a caregiver of their choice. The name for Medicaid can vary, as can the names of cash-for-counseling programs. For example, in California, Medicaid is called MediCal, and the cash program is known as "In Home Supportive Services." The local social or human services office, or the Medicaid office in your county, can help you determine if the SSI recipient qualifies for caregiving benefits that will pay you. Every state offers "self-directed services" through Medicaid, which allow recipients to hire and pay their own caregivers, even if they are family members. Income and assets limits apply and vary from state to state.
Caring for a Veteran
It is possible to receive SSI and Veteran pension benefits. The Veteran Directed Home & Community Based Care program offered by the Department of Veteran Affairs is available in 37 states. It provides an average of $2,500 monthly per recipient to pay for goods and the type of care they choose. The caretaker can be unrelated to the veteran, or can be a spouse, sibling, child or grandchild of the veteran.
Another pension program, known as Aid and Attendance, or A&A, is available to veterans who meet certain military service guidelines, such as at least 90 days of active duty and service during wartime. Surviving spouses of veterans may also qualify for this cash aid, which may be used to pay a relative or non-relative for caretaking services. The veteran and SSI recipient must contact either their state's Pension Management Center or local regional benefits office to initiate these types of veteran programs.
- Social Security.gov: Supplemental Security Income
- Caring.com: How to Get Paid for Being a Family Caregiver; Josph L. Matthews
- Aging Care.com; "How Can I Get Paid for Taking Care of My Elderly Parents?"; Marlo Sollitto
- AARP: Can I Get Paid to Be a Caregiver For a Family Member?
- Nolo: Getting Both Social Security and VA Veterans Disability Benefits
- Prepare a simple contract between you and the person you are providing care to in the home. This prevents misunderstandings if the person at some point has to enter a nursing home or a family member questions the payments.
Karina C. Hernandez is a real estate agent in San Diego since 2004. She has a background in mortgage finance and cosmetics and has written home & garden, housing and beauty articles for multiple internet channels over the past 10 years. She has a B.A. in English from UCLA.
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