Has anyone hired private caregivers "under the table", and if so, how did it work out? What advice would you have?

Asked by

Home healthcare agency is constantly leaving MIL with gaps in their caregiver's schedule for my FIL. He is completely paralyzed on one side and has moderate dementia. She is 89 and so is not able to care for him on her own.

Answers 1 to 10 of 20
"Under the table" sounds a little sneaky, but yes, you can hire supplemental help. Sometimes the people who work with healthcare agencies appreciate having some extra work on the side. You can check to see if it is allowed with their agency, or hire someone from outside the agency. You may want to check the laws on hiring help to make sure you're not responsible for taxes or other things. If it is a limited number of hours, you probably won't be. I would keep things above board so nothing comes back to haunt you.

We hired someone to give baths to my father. He first met him through our home care company. He was glad to have the extra work and the company was fine with it. Many of the home health workers don't make a lot of money, so it may be a good source for you if it is okay with their agency.
Top Answer
"Under the table" implies you are paying cash, they are not reporting it on their income tax, and you are not reporting it on a 1099 form. If you are having someone come in once or twice a month to sit with your loved one for a few hours, this probably works out OK. But if it is a substantial number of hours it may really be better in the long run to do it above board. It is kind of a nuisance, but it is not really difficult once it is set up.

But as for hiring privately instead of going through an agency, their are some very good people who work independently, just as there are some very good people who work for agencies. For independent workers you'll have to check references and do your own screening. Independents have sick children and get colds and have dental appointments, too, so hiring independently isn't a sure-thing solution to no-shows.
Your "private hires" will probably leave you with gaps as much as the agency if not more. I suggest you look at some other agencies. They are suppose to send subs when the regular person calls in absent. It is still a hassle. Private hires are cheaper but if they hurt themselves handling the client or when on the property you open yourself up to be sued. The agency takes care of any claims--true or false.
We did for my Daddy ( a Doctor himself for 31 years) He overdosed while they were taking a smoke break. We were paying 9 grand per month for truly very little. Go ask around in your area ( nursing homes , ect ) if any of the staff is looking to pick up extra hours . I would only trust somebody that works around the elderly or in that field.
id avoid privateers who will work for a crack rock. they are alert 24 hrs a day but rather jumpy and unpredictable.
I'm not sure what you mean. We hired a wonderful woman who I'm pretty sure didn't pay taxes on the money we gave her. But I figured that was her problem.

We had a woman that worked for an agency, my Mom adored her. But she constantly wanted us to tell the agency that she was working for 4 hours, but she would work for 8, then we would just pay her for the extra 4. She earned more money this way. It always worried me because the fines for doing this were steep. But we never got caught. It also just seemed wrong. We did sign an agreement with the agency.
Don't hire under the table or work under the table! It is called Tax Evasion which is a federal offense and a felony. Someone can also call anonymously to the IRS Fraud Tip Line to report this type of activity.
Don't do it, it's unethical. Just because the caregiver wants to be underhanded doesn't mean you should agree to it. Is it worth the risk of being caught? Is your loved one protected? Too many "ifs".
I *think* what you mean is - you want to hire independent help... a caregiver not acquired through an agency... yes?

If so - my state (IL) has Dept of Health website with CNA and other medically certified person registered in this state. I can simply place an ad in local paper, get someone's info and a "feel" for the person by interviewing, then check credentials online.

I would start by seeing if your state has something similar to this.
It's possible to hire someone as an independent contractor. There are several key factors you'll want to make sure you can meet:

.. They provide you with an invoice for services rendered
.. They provide all their own supplies to accomplish the 'work'
.. They get to determine their own schedule or when to complete the 'work'

.. You supply a 1099 at the end of the year

Where most caregiving would encounter issues, is with the timing factor. It's going to be pretty difficult to cover all the 'shifts' necessary for longterm care.

I can envision several scenarios where it ~might~ work:

You engage the contractor(s) for XX hours or to provide services and they tell you when they're available and you get to juggle the schedule. This might actually work well for the stay-at-home family caregiver who is simply looking for chunks of time to be relieved of caregiving responsibilities, the person who comes in to bathe, the one who comes in to help with housekeeping and 'keep an eye on mom' while you go off shopping, a hairdresser/manicurist who comes in once a week, and you get to peacefully work in the garden, or even someone who does all your shopping for you. Make it a mix and match kind of thing. (Hint: these could all be the same person. Just make sure the billing reflects the separate jobs for which they were engaged/hired.)

The very valid reasons for going through an agency:
.. Their staff should be screened for ability and training (and certification, if desired), as well as complete background checks
.. The agency will cover all the expenses related to health insurance and taxes for the worker
.. The agency will also carry liability insurance
.. The agency should provide relief staff
.. Some agencies even offer bonded staff

For most of us, covering the proverbial a$$ is more important than the work itself.

Share your answer

Please enter your Answer

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support