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Recently my uncle became in a position of needing to either live in an assisted living center or have constant in home care. Cost being an issue, we moved him up to UT so he is near family and I've moved in to assist as a care taker.

Recognizing that when people begrudgingly accept a deal, they only get more bitter in time, and having already had some frustrations in this avenue, I'd like to clarify what a fair wage would be for the situation we find ourselves in for both our sakes.

Currently I receive $1000 a month as $12,000 per year (12*1000) is the maximum gift allowance you can give before needing to worry about taxes. I appreciate the help and guidance in advance.

He spends most of his time watching tv or on his computer or tablet and during such times is very low maintenance.

He requires a power chair to get anywhere and is unable to transition himself to and from it to the bathroom, shower or bed. He is unable to dress himself and cannot cook or clean. Fortunately I find transitioning him to be very easy and can do so quickly and without a power lift.

Anything that would require lifting falls on me and so does transportation to and from anywhere he needs to go such as shopping, appointments, or anything else he wants to do what isn't within immediate environs of the condo complex.

Although not frequent, there are various nights where I am woken in the middle of the night by his need for help, usually because he needs to go to the bathroom earlier than is normal.

He also often gets his power chair tied up in the air hose from his oxygen machine and needs help untangling it in order to continue to move around. He does have grabbers to pick up small things that drop but will call me for help to pick up such things since I'm able to do it more quickly and he has limited arm strength.

He is taking care of his finances and utilities and is providing for my room and board although board is what he wants to purchase unless I can convince him otherwise as I do not have a separate allowance for things that I might want that do not coincide with what he wants (which is rare fortunately).

He is in the process of selling his former home and until that happens is functioning at a deficit. Even once that is done, he'll still be living off of his savings as his monthly costs exceed his social security benefits easily so money stresses him out a lot.

Although I don't technically have to be with him 24/7, I do need to be on call and available because he may need me for something at any given moment. I'm currently working on online schooling which means my time overlaps nicely.

There is other family in the area that can spell me but usually it's on Sunday for a few hours and really not ever for a whole weekend etc. Since I'm living in, I don't have set days where I can completely just detach and get away from everything.

He currently views himself as the boss which means things have to be done his way. He is very particular regarding how he wants things done especially when it comes to his converted van and driving. Not being used to being this limited he gets frustrated easily over minor things and although he doesn't swear at me, he does cuss. Likewise he tends to complain often which is frustrating.

He has a pack rat/hoarding issue and is very attached to his possessions and is very frustrated at the small amount he could actually bring with him and that things aren't where he can find them if they're to be found at all. We're trying to sell off his surplus possessions but he bases their value on what he purchased them for, regardless as to whether or not it was a good purchase price to start with, rather than what they can be sold for now.

All this being said, he is still mostly easy to get along with, most of the time and he making an effort to adapt.

Having concluded a not so brief summary of the situation, can anyone help me with some questions?

Do I need to get a care contract and if so why (so I can convince him it is needed)?
What caregiver laws are there in UT that I need to be aware of?

Should I or other family members be unable to care for him in the future to where he finds someone through an agency...
Would you classify him as needing 24/7 care?
If so, what would you calculate as a fair wage for a caregiver?
If not 24/7, what level of care do you think he could get away with at a minimum? What adjustments might such require of him and how much would accepting such adjustments lower the cost of aid?

Regarding him employing me as a caregiver, would you recommend employing me through an agency, as a direct employer/employee relationship or me becoming an independent contractor?
Why did you recommend what you recommended over the other options and what should I know before hand in proceeding down such a course to make it smoother?

Who would you recommend he speak to for an evaluation of the true costs and needs involved should he need convincing?

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I didn't really see how he could have Medicaid if he has substantial savings. Well, then, you don't have a case worker to contact. So the lawyer may be your starting point. You and Uncle go together so you can both hear advice and the reasons behind it.
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Nevermind, just asked him and he doesn't have Medicaid.
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Ah, he's already on Medicaid. Super! He most likely has a case worker. Contact that person first (and then, perhaps, the lawyer.) He may be eligible for some in-home care, and in many states a relative can be paid for providing some of that in-home care. In this state, they would send you through an agency they contract with, and that would take care of all the withholding tax issues. Find out what is available and how it works in his state.
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Would it be a different matter if he's already on Medicaid (Diabetes/Post Polio) and has been for many years?
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I don't have a direct answer for you, but I'd like to bring up one subject you haven't covered.

At some point Uncle may need to apply for Medicaid. His income doesn't cover his needs now and he is going through his savings. If he needs to apply for Medicaid, you don't want (or he doesn't want) the money he is paying you to be considered a gift. While that may seem the easiest approach tax-wise, it is only easy now and it can come back to bite him in the future.

And that is why you do need a personal care contract, spelling out what you are providing and what he is paying. So later no one can say he was giving you gift money.

And here's a tip: No one can provide 24/7/365 care and retain their sanity. No One. So you need to build in some respite care. You do need some weekends off. If a family member can spell you, great. If not, Uncle will need to hire someone. You MUST have respite. You also need longer periods of vacation time. This really pays off in the long run. You don't want to burnout early, or wind up resenting your uncle, or hating your family. Arrange for respite care!

I really think a visit to an attorney specializing in Elder Law would be worthwhile. In addition to advising you about the employment situation he or she can help your uncle make sure he has all his paperwork in place. (Will, living will, POA, etc.)
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