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 WI.

family members caring for a loved one
hours spent each year
in unpaid care
provided annually
Out of the 5.9M people in Wisconsin, there are 580,000 people taking care of loved ones. These family caregivers provide a combined 540M (yes, 540M!) hours of care per year. At WI's average $16.97 hourly wage, this is $9,200,000,000 of care provided unpaid every year. (Source: AARP)
Option 1: Medicaid

Medicaid pays family caregivers in Wisconsin.

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

  • Children's Long-Term Support Waiver Program: This program provides supports and services to individuals with physical and other disabilities, with serious emotional disturbance, with autism, with intellectual disabilities, or with developmental disabilities ages 0-21 years who meet a hospital, nursing facility, or ICF/IID level of care.
  • Family Care Waiver: This program provides support services to individuals ages 65 or older, individuals with physical or other disabilities ages 18-64 years, and individuals with developmental disabilities or intellectual disabilities ages 18 or older who meet a nursing facility or ICF/IID level of care.
  • IRIS (Include, Respect, I Self-Direct) Waiver: This program provides services to individuals 65 or older, individuals with intellectual disabilities or developmental disabilities ages 18 or older, and individuals with physical disabilities ages 18-64 years who meet a nursing facility or ICF/IID level of care.

Medicaid programs and waivers can change over time, so it's important to consult the official Wisconsin Medicaid website or contact the Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin?

If you get hired to care for your loved one under one above the waivers, you can expect to earn about $16.97 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 Wisconsin:

Wisconsin Family Caregiver Pay Calculator

WI Family Caregiver Pay Rate

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Option 2: veterans

Wisconsin'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 WI

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 WI

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 WI

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 WI

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 Wisconsin...

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Option 3: State Support

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services supports family caregivers.

How does the Wisconsin Department of 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 47 AAAs in Wisconsin. Click here find your local AAA in WI.

How else does Wisconsin support family caregivers?

Click here to learn more...

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Option 4: Tax Credits

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

The Wisconsin House is currently considering Governor Evers' proposed use of budget surplus to create a tax credit for family caregivers. LRB-5877 would create a tax credit that equal to 50% of a caregiver's care-related expenses. The tax credit could be worth up to $500 for caregivers. The bill is currently under consideration. Read more...

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 Wisconsin

Other caregiver pay programs in WI

Here are a few caregiver payment programs in Alabama that you may want to explore:
  • Aged, Blind, and Disabled (ABD) 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.

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 Wisconsin

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 Wisconsin that provide support to family caregivers include the following:

  • Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): Under the Wisconsin FMLA, eligible employees have the right to take unpaid leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition. This law helps protect caregivers' job security while they attend to their family members' health needs.
  • Wisconsin Caregiver Law: The Wisconsin Caregiver Law requires background checks for individuals working in direct caregiver roles, such as personal care workers, home health aides, and certain employees in healthcare facilities. The law aims to ensure the safety and well-being of care recipients.
  • Wisconsin Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs): ADRCs in Wisconsin provide information, assistance, and access to long-term care options for older adults and individuals with disabilities. They offer guidance on caregiver support programs, respite care, support groups, and other resources to assist family caregivers.
  • Wisconsin Alzheimer's Family and Caregiver Support Program: This program provides assistance to caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer's disease or related dementias. It offers education, counseling, support groups, and respite care services to help caregivers manage the unique challenges associated with dementia care.
  • Wisconsin Long-Term Care Support Programs: Wisconsin offers various Medicaid-funded long-term care programs, such as Family Care, IRIS (Include, Respect, I Self-Direct), and the Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) program. These programs provide support and services to individuals who require long-term care, including assistance to family caregivers.
  • Wisconsin Respite Care Program: The Wisconsin Respite Care Program offers temporary relief to caregivers by providing short-term care services for their loved ones. Respite care allows caregivers to take breaks, attend to personal needs, or simply recharge while ensuring their care recipients receive appropriate care.

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

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