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A Caregiver Agreement , whether it is referred to as a Caregiver Agreement, Child Caregiver Agreement or Personal Care Contract, is a contract between a Senior Parent or other disabled individuals and their child, children or other family member in which the parent agrees to compensate the child for caring for the parent. As an adult ages and increasingly needs assistance with the normal activities of daily living, the decision is often reached that for the parent or family loved one to continue to live in their home that they will need assistance whether it is only a few hours a week or 24 hours a day. Though many cities and States offer some community care services to their senior citizens, unfortunately these programs may have financial qualification requirements and usually have a relatively low number of hours of services which can be provided to the senior weekly and so are effective only for a small percentage of those in need and for a short period of time. Call (847)253-7500 today to schedule an appointment with an experienced Elder Law Attorney.
If a senior does not qualify for the community support program or has needs which exceed those offered by the programs and the have some financial resources, then they are left generally with three alternatives to provide caregiver services; a professional caregiver service, an independent unrelated individual, frequently a recent immigrant, willing to be the caregiver and finally a very common alternative where the senior receives the caregiving services from a child, children or other family member.
If the senior wishes a child or other family member to act as their caregiver, it is extremely important that you contact an experienced Elder Law Attorney to draft an appropriate Caregiver Agreement and provide you with the procedural steps necessary so that the payments will not result in a penalty when applying for Medicaid. Medicaid considers all transfers to family members to be gifts and all services provided to an elderly family member as having been done out of love and affection without financial compensation. The requirements to overcome this assumption by the State must be put into place prior to the elderly individual making any payments to the family member. Let Elder Law & Estate Planning Attorneys of Illinois,P.C./ Law Office of Siebert & Associates ,P.C. use their years of experience to assist you in preparing the appropriate Child Caregiver Agreement and assisting you in obtaining the appropriate supporting documentation to avoid subsequent penalties being imposed should Medicaid be required at a later date.
Frequently, families let the hourly cost of the caregiver services be the controlling factors in deciding which type of caregiver to hire. While it is tempting for a family to hire private caregivers who are willing to accept substantially less per hour but must be paid in cash or by check payable to cash, this should be avoided at all costs. While not discounting the obvious potential issues with the non-payment of taxes, this type of payment poses significant danger to an individual’s Medicaid approval. While a professional caregiver services will charge a much higher hourly rate for caregiver services you get value for that extra money and at the same time avoid potential major Medicaid issues.
The professional service generally offer many advantages, including: Drafting a Plan of Care, training for Caregivers, criminal background checks on all caregivers, 24-Hour On-Call Service in case one caregiver is sick or has a personal emergency, active oversight of the caregiver by the service, maintain professional liability insurance, worker’s compensation insurance, fidelity bond insurance., and very importantly the caregivers are employees of the service, meaning the service is responsible for paying all employee payroll taxes, as required by law: Unemployment Insurance tax, Social Security tax, Medicare tax and State and Federal with-holdings. All this oversight and management results in professional caregiver services charging substantially more on an hourly basis than the other alternatives. Though on the face of it a professional caregiver service appears to be the more expensive solution, in the long run hiring the cash based caregiver can cost you substantially more.
The State makes the assumption that all cash payments or unexplained transfers were for less than fair market value or were in fact transfers to family members and will impose a penalty for transfers of this type which the Applicant cannot prove went to third party caregivers. Private caregivers who are willing to accept substantially less per hour but must be paid in cash or by check payable to cash are seldom willing to testify or submit affidavits that they received these payments for their services. If you can even find them, they generally refuse to cooperate since in most cases they did not report the income or pay taxes. So while it might seem less expensive to pay a private caregiver cash instead of a professional service, in the long run the cost to the senior may be much greater.
If you are in the situation where either a child is providing a parent with care giving services or of there is a need to retain third party caregivers for a loved one, then it is time to contact an experienced Elder Law Attorney to assist you in understanding the laws in regard to paying for long term care and how those laws impact the decision you need to make. Elder Law & Estate Planning Attorneys of Illinois,P.C./ Law Office of Siebert & Associates ,P.C. would be happy to assist you and your family in preparing a comprehensive long term plan to address the long term care needs of a senior or disabled loved one, and to prepare any documents needed to implement that plan. Call Elder Law & Estate Planning Attorneys of Illinois,P.C./ Law Office of Siebert & Associates ,P.C. at (847)253-7500 today to schedule an appointment with an experienced Elder Law Attorney.
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