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Can You Get Paid For Taking Care Of An Elderly Parent In California?

Can You Get Paid for Taking Care of an Elderly Parent in California?

Are you caring for an elderly parent in California and perhaps also balancing the needs of your own children? Caregiving for family members is a significant emotional struggle and places great demands on your health, time, energy level, and even your job and marriage.

Caregiving takes a financial toll as well. A recent AARP study revealed that roughly 41 million Americans provide care for an elderly parent about 16 hours a week and do so without pay. In fact, they must often take time away from a career to offer this care and that makes it tremendously difficult just to keep up. This widespread dilemma affecting so many people is influencing nationwide discussions related to paid leave and payment for caregivers.

The good news is senior caregiving options are available in California to help mitigate the burden, while providing high quality care for your parent. Several programs offer compensation to family members who provide non-medical assistance to loved ones and allow the elderly to age gracefully in their own homes.

Paid caregiver programs’ eligibility depends on many factors including marital status, veteran status, income, value of assets, insurance on hand, and employment status. Blood relationship is another defining detail, as some programs limit payment to specific relatives.

Here are some common caregiving programs in California:

In-home supportive services

The In-Home Supportive Services program (known as IHSS) is part of Medi-Cal and provides non-medical support to people in their homes, including personal care and assistance with basic household chores. Program participants are allowed to choose family members to provide them with assistance and those family members are then compensated by Medi-Cal. Siblings, adult children, nieces, nephews, friends, and spouses are eligible to participate in the program.

 Veteran’s aid and attendance pension

The Aid and Attendance Pension benefit applies to wartime veterans or their surviving spouses who require assistance with daily living activities. While souses cannot be paid as caregivers, adult children and other relatives can be. The amount of financial assistance varies depending on the beneficiary’s current income. The process is very complicated and interested parties are encouraged to contact the Veteran’s Affairs office. With more than 2 million veterans currently residing in California, this program is of great help to many families.

Long-term care insurance

If long-term care insurance is included in your parent’s policy and the policy qualifies, the parent can hire family members as caregivers. Most long-term care insurance policies are too restrictive, however, so this option only applies to a small number of people.

Paid family leave act

California’s Paid Family Leave (PFL) Act allows relatives to take time away from their job to care for a family member while continuing to receive a portion of their salary. Percentages vary but can be up to 70 percent. Caregiver eligibility depends on relation by blood or marriage, including parents, parents-in-law, grandparents, grandchildren, children, siblings, spouses, or registered domestic partners. The program allows caregivers to take up to six weeks off.

Medicaid services

All 50 states offer self-directed Medicaid options for long-term care. In particular, the programs let states grant waivers allowing qualified individuals to manage their own long-term home care services, instead of relying on or following traditional, agency-driven models.  Keep in mind that benefits, coverage, eligibility and rules will likely differ depending on your state of residence. In addition, some of these programs pay family caregivers but do not pay spouses and legal guardians. Still others will pay care providers only on the condition they do not live in the same house as the person receiving care.

Whatever your particular scenario, be sure to verify program rules and select one that best fits your family’s needs.


If you or your family member is considering in-home care as part of a plan to age in place, contact Family Matters In-Home Care today for a free consultation.  Our team is dedicated to supporting your family and helping older adults enjoy life in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible.

Some of the services offered by Family Matter In-Home Care include: Alzheimer’s & Dementia CareBed & Wheelchair Transfer AssistanceCompanionshipHousekeeping & Meal PreparationPersonal CareRecovery Care, and Transportation.

Serving the San Francisco Bay Area, Greater San Diego, and now Oregon, Family Matter In-Home Care has offices in Campbell, CARoseville, CASan Marcos, CASan Mateo, CA, and Portland, OR.

Carol Pardue-Spears

Carol has worked in the healthcare field for more than forty years. As a Certified Nursing Assistant, she worked for El Camino Hospital in the cardiac unit, Los Gatos Community Hospital, The Women’s Cancer Center in Los Gatos and several home health and hospice agencies. Carol founded Family Matters in 2002 to fill a deficit she witnessed in high-quality, in-home services and care.