Can a Family Member Get Paid to Be a Caregiver in Pennsylvania?


As a family caregiver, you are providing incredibly valuable support to your loved one and potentially incurring personal expenses that are related to your role.

With that in mind, you may want to consider your options for getting paid as a family caregiver through Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program, which is what this article is about.

What is a caregiver?

Caregivers are people who help elderly, ill, injured, and/or disabled patients with attaining their needs and completing day-to-day tasks.

A caregiver could work with a patient that requires short or long-term assistance. They may do so in different settings, including at the sick or elderly person’s residence or a professional medical facility (such as a hospital or nursing home).

Although many caregivers fill this role as professional and paid employees, family caregivers are those who take care of their own family and/or one that they’re friends with or close to.

Does Pennsylvania allow family members to be caregivers and get paid through Medicaid?

Simply put, the answer is yes. Medicaid in Pennsylvania participates in CDPAP (Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program).

This program provides medical aid to family caregivers and pays them to attend to the needs of an elderly, ill, or disabled loved one who is on Medicaid.

Almost anyone can be a paid family caregiver as long as they meet certain requirements.

How can one become a caregiver in Pennsylvania?

To become a family caregiver and qualify for CDPAP, you must be:

  • At least 18 years old
  • A Pennsylvania resident
  • Complete caregiver training requirements
  • Obtain the relevant certifications

Once you satisfy these conditions, you can start looking at the options for how you would get paid.

Ways to Receive Compensation as a Family Caregiver in Pennsylvania

The following are some of the options that family caregivers have to get paid in Pennsylvania:

Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Waivers

While the HCBS waiver allows a Medicaid recipient to choose (and pay) the caregiver that they want to hire, this benefit is not guaranteed as a right.

This is because there is a limited amount of available slots in this program, and you can’t receive the HCBS waiver when they’re all filled.

Nevertheless, patients that qualify for one can pay their family caregiver and cover expenses related to their role via Medicaid.

If you only apply after the slots have been taken, you should consider alternative caregiver services compensation options.

Pennsylvania Department of Aging 60+ Waiver (PDA 60+ Waiver)

If your loved one is 60 years of age or older and is diagnosed with dementia, Parkinson’s Disease, or another brain syndrome, you might be able to get paid as their family caregiver through the PDA 60+ waiver.

To determine whether you qualify for this program, you want to check your county’s eligibility rules.

Commcare Waiver

Those who suffered from a traumatic brain injury and need the services of a nursing home, but prefer to stay at their personal residence by relying on the support of a family caregiver, could obtain the Commcare waiver as long as they meet these conditions:

  • The person receiving care is at least 21 years old
  • They were officially diagnosed with having a traumatic brain injury
  • They require nursing home-level care and assistance

Patients that qualify for the Commcare Waiver can hire a family caregiver to help them with the following:

  • Care management
  • Home modifications
  • In-home care
  • Respite care (to allow family caregivers time to attend to their personal needs or take a break during emergencies)
  • Transportation

Other Waivers

While Medicaid provides multiple waivers and compensation options for family caregivers on the federal level, individual states may choose to expand or opt out of some programs.

In light of this, if you and/or your loved one aren’t eligible for the waivers above, you should contact the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) to learn about potential alternatives so that you can still get paid as a personal caregiver.

Average Pay Rate for Pennsylvania Caregivers

On average, caregivers get $13 per hour in Pennsylvania, but the amount could range between $11 and $16. This is because tax deductions and expense reimbursements might influence your hourly rate and total income as a family caregiver.

Who cannot be a caregiver?

Across the board (that is to say, in Pennsylvania and about every state), spouses cannot be paid to be family caregivers for each other. This is regardless of the age, medical diagnosis, and needs of both the spouse that requires help and the one that is providing care.

The same thing applies to parents who want to be the family caregiver of their non-adult children.

However, apart from this, many family members and relatives can get paid by Medicaid to care for their loved ones.

Who can be a caregiver?

Here is who a sick or elderly patient can hire as a family caregiver:

  • Children who are at least 18 years old
  • Their parents, but the care recipient must be an adult
  • Grandparents

The CDPAP program also allows Pennsylvanians to pay other relatives and friends to be their family caregiver. Yet, in addition to the above requirements, the caregiver must be no younger than 18 years old, reside in Pennsylvania, and fulfill the training and certification rules.

After that, patients may pay them through one of the waivers or programs that we outlined in this article.

In short, you should consider your and your loved one’s options carefully. Not only will you provide them with intangibly-valuable services, but you get paid and receive reimbursements for your expenses while you do so.