Caring for elderly and infirm family members can be an extremely challenging job. Often, personal finances are sacrificed in an effort to help a loved senior stay at home while receiving the care they need. For seniors who are MassHealth members, there is an option for family members who act as caregivers to be reimbursed for their services by MassHealth while allowing the senior to remain at home instead of having to enter a nursing facility.
Overview of the Massachusetts Caregiver Homes Program
The Massachusetts Caregiver Homes Program provides support to caregivers by paying them to care for an elderly or disabled adult at home. These caregivers, which can be friends or family members of the care recipient, are paid by MassHealth (Medicaid in Massachusetts) for the care they provide to the senior, allowing them to stay in the community. The program offers a previously unavailable benefit to seniors who have a home and willing family caregivers, but who otherwise would have no option financially but to enter a nursing home.
Caregivers, who provide elders with 24-hour supervision, assistance with daily activities and other personal care services, can receive up to $18,000 per year for home-based care. They are also supported by a team of MassHealth professionals who provide regular home visits and counseling, and receive training in best practices and linking seniors to other sources of home care services.
While friends and family can act as caregivers in the program, spouses, parents of minors or other legal guardians of the elderly or disabled participant are not eligible.
Qualifications for the Massachusetts Caregiver Homes Program
Eligibility for the Caregiver Homes Program requires that the elder participant be a MassHealth participant and need assistance with at least three activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing and eating.
Personal Care Contracts
Another option for reimbursing caregivers is the personal care contract. This option is primarily for those who do not yet qualify for MassHealth, but who want to plan ahead for MassHealth eligibility. Without a personal care contract in place, MassHealth may consider any payments made by a senior to a family caregiver as a disqualifying transfer. By establishing an employer/employee relationship through a personal care contract, a senior can pay a family caregiver for their efforts without disqualifying the senior from MassHealth eligibility. Personal care contract must observe strict formalities in order to be considered legitimate, so contacting an elder law attorney to assist you is highly recommended.
Do You Qualify?
To determine the best option for you and your loved one, try this selection tool. MassHealth members can call the MassHealth Customer Service Center at 1-800-841-2900 for more information about the Caregiver Program.
For more information on MassHealth Qualification, please contact The Heritage Law Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617.299.6976.