Can you get paid caring for your loved one?
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Can you get paid caring for your loved one?
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Family matters

Family members play a key role in WA.

family members caring for a loved one
hours spent each year
in unpaid care
provided annually
Out of the 7.7M people in Washington, there are 820,000 people taking care of loved ones. These family caregivers provide a combined 770M (yes, 770M!) hours of care per year. At WA's average $21.88 hourly wage, this is $16,800,000,000 of care provided unpaid every year. (Source: AARP)
Option 1: Medicaid

Medicaid pays family caregivers in Washington.

What is a Medicaid Waiver?

Medicaid Waivers are exceptions to Medicaid rules that allow states to offer programs that do not fit within the traditional boundaries of Medicaid. Every state has at least one waiver in place to allow the payment of family caregivers.

In Washington, the following Medicaid waivers are available with an option for caregiver pay:

  • Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS): Section 1915(c) Waiver can sometimes compensate family caregivers. The HCBS waiver is designed to provide home and community-based services to Medicaid beneficiaries who would otherwise require institutional care. While the specific provisions of the waiver can vary by state, some HCBS waivers offer a self-directed option that allows participants to hire and compensate family members as caregivers.
  • Home and Community-Based Alternatives (HCBA) Waiver: This waiver assists individuals who have developmental disabilities and want to live in the community instead of an institutional setting. Family caregivers can potentially receive compensation.
  • Adult Foster Care (AFC) Program: The AFC program allows eligible caregivers to receive payment for providing care to individuals with chronic disabilities or medical conditions. Caregivers must meet certain requirements and undergo training to participate in the program.
  • Aged and Disabled Waiver: This waiver provides services to individuals aged 65 and older, as well as adults with disabilities. It may include options for self-direction and compensation for family caregivers.
  • New Freedom: This waiver program is a participant-directed program that empowers eligible individuals with disabilities and elderly persons to receive personalized home and community-based services, offering them greater autonomy and control over their care plans and budgets.
  • Community First Choice (CFC) Waiver: This waiver, also known as the Washington Apple Health Personal Care (WACPC) program, provides home and community-based services to eligible individuals who require assistance with activities of daily living. It allows participants to self-direct their care, which means they can hire and manage their own caregivers, including family members, who may be eligible for compensation.
  • Individual and Family Services (IFS) Waiver: The IFS waiver is designed to support individuals with developmental disabilities or related conditions. It offers a range of services and supports, including personal care assistance. While this waiver primarily focuses on serving individuals with disabilities, it may allow for self-directed care, including compensating family caregivers.
  • Roads to Community Living: The Roads to Community Living program, a Medicaid waiver in Washington and part of the broader federally funded Money Follows the Person Program, facilitating the transition of individuals with complex long-term care needs from institutional settings to community-based living.

Medicaid programs and waivers can change over time, so it's important to consult the official Washington Medicaid website or contact the Washington Department of Human Services for the most up-to-date information on available waivers and eligibility requirements.

How does a Medicaid waiver work to pay family caregivers?

In most cases, to get paid by Medicaid as a family caregiver, you will work through a program called self-direction (also known as Consumer Direction, Participant Direction, or other similar names). Medicaid self-direction programs give people who need long-term care services more control over their care. Typically, when someone receives Medicaid-funded care, the government decides who will provide it and how it will be given. With self-direction, the person receiving care has more say in how care is provided and by whom, sometimes including family members.

While enrolling in self-direction can be complicated, it is a viable opportunity for caregivers to get paid for their work. Enrollment typically involves the care recipient going through an evaluation to determine their need for in-home care and obtaining approval accordingly. Afterward, you may need to complete training, acquire credentials, and secure "employment" with an agency responsible for processing payments for your billable hours. Once enrolled and hired by the agency, you must follow specific procedures to document and verify your work to get paid.
Earn up to $20/hr for the care you give.
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Earn up to $20/hr for the care you give.
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How much do family members get paid by Medicaid for caregiving in Washington?

If you get hired to care for your loved one under one above the waivers, you can expect to earn about $21.88 per hour.

Your hourly rate may vary based on:

  • Program Guidelines: Each waiver program may have specific rules and regulations regarding caregiver compensation. These guidelines often outline the maximum hourly rate allowed. 
  • Local Wage Rates: Hourly rates are determined at the local zip code level based on a variety of factors.
  • Qualifications and Experience: Your qualifications and experience as a caregiver can impact your hourly rate. If you have specialized training or certifications relevant to caregiving, it may justify a higher rate. Additionally, your years of experience in caregiving can also influence your compensation. 
  • Level of Care Required: The level of care needed by the individual you are caring for can impact your hourly rate. Higher levels of care, such as providing medical assistance or supporting individuals with complex needs, may justify a higher rate compared to basic caregiving tasks.
  • Time Commitment: The number of hours you dedicate to caregiving can influence your hourly rate. If you are providing care full-time or have a significant time commitment, it may justify a higher rate compared to part-time caregivers. 
  • Market Demand: The demand for caregivers in your area can also affect your hourly rate. If there is a shortage of caregivers or a high demand for specific types of care, it may drive up the hourly rates.

See how much you can get paid as a family caregiver in Washington:

Washington Family Caregiver Pay Calculator

WA Family Caregiver Pay Rate

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Option 2: veterans

Washington's VA pays caregivers for veterans.

Veterans, and the surviving spouses of veterans, have a few options to pay family caregivers.

Veteran Directed Home & Community Based Care in WA

The Veteran Directed Care (VDC) program allows veterans to choose how to direct their monthly care budget. This means that when hiring a caregiver, a veteran can choose to hire his/her family member. The caregiving family member will be paid the hourly rate determined by the VA, typically $8-$21 per hour. VDC is available to veterans of all ages enrolled in VA medical benefits and require skilled services and assistance with activities of daily living.

Veteran Aid & Attendance Pension Benefit in WA

If your veteran loved one requires professional long-term in-home, assisted living, or nursing home care, you may be eligible for Aid and Attendance (A&A). The A&A Pension can provide up to $3,261 per month to pay for care, including to caregiving family members. A&A is an add-on benefit that requires eligibility for the basic VA pension or survivor pension, as well as meeting a disability requirement.

Housebound Pension Benefit in WA

The Housebound Pension benefit provides funds to veterans who are mostly unable to leave their homes. Similar to the A&A benefit, the Housebound Pension can be used to pay family caregivers. The Housebound Pension can be worth up to $1,882 per month, and spouses are unable to be paid as the family caregiver under the Housebound benefit, as spouse income is included in the calculation of the benefit. To qualify for Housebound, a veteran must be limited to his/her house and be eligible for the basic VA pension. Veterans cannot get A&A and Housebound benefits at the same time.

Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC) in WA

The PCAFC is the VA's broadest program targeting family caregivers. The program provides family caregivers with a stipend of up to $2,750 per month, in addition to training, counseling, and respite care. To qualify, the veteran must have been critically hurt or had a serious illness in the line of duty, and require help with at least one activity of daily living.

Find your local VA in Washington...

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Option 3: State Support

The Washington Department of Social and Health Services supports family caregivers.

How does the Washington Department of Social and Health Services support family caregivers?

Every state is mandated by the federal government to create support systems for family caregivers. They often reach local communities through Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs).

Area Agencies on Aging are crucial in supporting family caregivers caring for older adults. These agencies typically offer various services, resources, and programs to assist family caregivers in their caregiving responsibilities. Some of the most common ways in which state Agencies on Aging support family caregivers include:

  1. Information and referrals: AAAs provide guidance on local resources, support groups, caregiver training, and respite care options.
  2. Caregiver education and training: They organize programs on caregiving techniques, stress management, healthcare navigation, and legal/financial aspects.
  3. Respite care: They offer temporary relief for caregivers, enabling them to take breaks and attend to their well-being.
  4. Support groups: They facilitate caregiver support groups for sharing experiences, concerns, and learning from others.
  5. Caregiver assessments: AAAs evaluate caregivers' needs and provide tailored support and recommendations.
  6. Counseling and consultation: They offer professional guidance and emotional support for caregivers.
  7. Advocacy and policy development: They advocate for caregiver-friendly policies and programs.
  8. Access to benefits and services: They assist caregivers in accessing benefits and programs like Medicaid, home-based services, and transportation assistance.

How do I find my local AAA?

There are 3 AAAs in Washington. Click here find your local AAA in WA.

How else does Washington support family caregivers?

Click here to learn more...

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Option 4: Tax Credits

Washington tax credit for caregiving.

What is a tax credit?

Tax credits are a way for the government to incentivize and compensate taxpayers for positive activities. A variety of tax credits cover a wide range of expenses and situations such as education, green energy, and caregiving. A tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction of the income tax you owe. For example, if you owe $4,000 in federal taxes but are eligible for a $3,000 tax credit, your tax bill is $1,000.

What tax credits are available for family caregivers?

The Child and Dependent Tax Credit (CDCTC) is a tax credit earned by caregivers for a percentage of care-related expenses. Eligible expenses must be for the care of a child or dependent in order to enable the taxpayer to work or look for work.

How much can I earn in tax credits for caregiving?

The total tax credit you can claim in Washington for caregiving is $1,100.

The CDCTC provides a tax credit for a percentage of your eligible caregiving expenses. The maximum CDCTC at the federal level is $1,100.

Additionally, Washington matches the federal tax credit up to , which can equate to an extra off your taxes.


How do I get tax credit for caregiving?

To get the CDCTC, you must claim your loved one as your dependent on your tax forms. You loved one must qualify to be claimed as a dependent based on a number of criteria. After claiming your loved one as a dependent, you will need to fill out tax form 2441. The tax form requires a clear picture of your care-related expenses that allowed you to work or look for work.

How can I automate getting this tax credit?

Instead of manually tracking your care-related expenses and filling out all of the tax forms, you can use the Givers Card to automate everything.
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Option 5: Other Options

Other ways to get paid as a family caregiver in Washington

Other caregiver pay programs in WA

Here are a few caregiver payment programs in Alabama that you may want to explore:
  • Aged, Blind, and Disabled Program: The Aged, Blind, and Disabled (ABD) program offers healthcare coverage, support services, and sometimes cash assistance to eligible individuals who are aged, blind, or disabled, aiming to meet their healthcare needs and enhance their well-being.

Long term care insurance

If your loved one has a long term care insurance policy, that policy may allow for the direction of funds to a family caregiver. To learn if this is an option for you, contact your loved one's insurance company or agent and ask about caregiver benefits.

Employer-sponsored caregiving leave

A growing number of companies are offering to pay employees while they take a leave to take care of a loved one. To learn if this is an option for you, talk to the Human Resources department at your company.

While the federal government does not require private employers to offer paid family leave, Washington has a rule that could be worth $1,327 per week to caregivers. Employees can receive up to 90% of their weekly earnings for up to 12 weeks to care for a seriously ill family member. Learn more here

Get paid by family

When your family measures all of the potential costs of care, including nursing homes, in-home nurses, and more, they may recognize that your support is a much more cost-effective option. If there are funds available, you should ask to be compensated for your time and efforts, especially when compared to the costs of the alternatives.

If your family does agree to pay you for your caregiving efforts, you should consult with an attorney to arrange a contract that details your work and wage. This step will create documentation that may be important in the future for reimbursement from Medicaid, health insurance, or assisted living in the future.
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Understanding Caregiver Rights and Resources Washington

Legal rights and protections for caregivers are essential to ensure their recognition, support, and fair treatment, allowing them to fulfill their caregiving responsibilities while safeguarding their own well-being.

Laws and programs in Washington that provide support to family caregivers include the following:

  • Paid Family and Medical Leave: Washington has implemented a Paid Family and Medical Leave program that allows eligible workers to take paid time off to care for a family member with a serious health condition. The program provides a portion of the worker's wages during the leave period.
  • Washington State Family Care Act: The Washington State Family Care Act requires employers to allow employees to use their accrued paid leave for the care of a qualifying family member. This includes providing care to a spouse, child, parent, parent-in-law, grandparent, or sibling with a serious health condition.
  • Respite Care Program: The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services offers a Respite Care Program, which provides temporary relief to family caregivers by arranging short-term care for their loved ones. This program aims to give caregivers a break and prevent burnout.
  • Washington Long-Term Care Trust Act: The Washington Long-Term Care Trust Act is a state-run long-term care insurance program that provides benefits for individuals who need assistance with daily activities. The program allows individuals to access benefits for home care services, which can alleviate some of the caregiving responsibilities for family members.
  • Caregiver Support Services: The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services provides caregiver support services, including information, resources, counseling, support groups, and education. These services aim to assist family caregivers in their caregiving roles and connect them with available supports.

Givers helps people caring for loved ones get enrolled in caregiver pay programs.