How much should we pay the son when he is caregiver for the parents?


There are 5 kids, but 1 one of them is currently unemployed. We need someone to take care of Mom and Dad. $600 per week ($15/hr x 40 hours) on top of their other household bills would be more than they can afford. But, it's certainly less than hiring a pro. How do we determine a reasonable wage for brother? (Note, he won't live with Mom and Dad.)

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Thanks again for all the insight.
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In the state of PA some agencies will train a relative to care for a loved one or even a friend. Here is an article I found but it's from 2003. Meaning, more states may have gotten into this idea.
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Um. If brother is getting unemployment, he will need to declare the money he gets for caregiving to offset part of his unemployment. If he doesn't declare it, and you need Medicaid later, the money given to him will count as gifts to brother because you won't have treated it as income to brother when you paid him. This could cause a transfer penalty under Medicaid. Since so many databases dovetail under Medicaid and state unemployment benefits, you really need to be careful that you don't cause your parents or brother problems by paying him for services at the same time he is receiving benefits from your state for unemployment. A neighbor of mine ended up having to repay Texas for unemployment benefits when he got money working on a contract job that he didn't report. And was tracked down by IRS. And lost rights for future benefits for 2 years as penalty. So please please please be careful.
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Thanks to all of you for the replies. I will share them with the rest of the family.

To answer a few questions: Yes, Mom has dementia, but now Dad is showing signs, too. Both have cardiac issues and Dad has a brand new hip that he's still learning to use. This website doesn't let users pick multiple family members or multiple conditions, so I didn't go on and on about both in in my question.

I will urge the family to consult an elder law atty and definitely get a contract in place, if brother turns out to be a workable solution.

And, @jeannegibbs, you're right. The larger problem is the limited finances. Another brother is managing that and the rest of us have the means to pitch-in when the time comes. We just need to be prudent now, in anticipation of bigger bills down the line.

btw, Dad will turn 82 in August and Mom will be 81 in Sept.

Brother isn't getting workers comp (there was no injury involved in his job loss), but he is getting unemployment.

Thanks again. :-)
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If your parents can't afford the care they need at reasonable going rates, then that is the problem to focus on -- not how much under reasonable rates your brother should work for.

Call your county Area Agency for Aging and find out how you can get a needs assessment for your Mom. Find out what resources are available to them. Consider applying for Medicaid. Leave no stone unturned! Come up with a plan for immediate needs that can be expanded as needs increase.

Perhaps your brother can be a part of this plan. In fact, perhaps all five of you could be a part of it in various ways. But first check out all the resources that may be available to Mom.

Is Brother now getting workman's comp while he is job searching?
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Peridot44, may I ask how old are your parents? I see from your profile that Mom has dementia, and as Barb had mentioned above, it a progressive disease. Does your Dad have any health issues? Is he mobile enough to take care of your Mom?

If your brother wants to help out his parents, the payment should be whatever your parents and your brother agree upon. He will need an employment contract, and he will need to pay payroll taxes. Does your brother have his own health insurance?

Make sure your brother's duties are mentioned. Chances are as your Mom's dementia advances there will be more things your brother will need to do that are not in the contract. Before he knows it, he is getting only 3 or 4 hours a sleep at night with no days off as he feels he needs to do more... he will crash and burn from exhaustion.

Make sure there is a clause that allows your brother to break the employment contract at any time, for any reason. I would hate to see him feeling guilty that he can't back out if there is a good job offering elsewhere with benefits, such as health insurance, etc.
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Peridot, stop right there.

One of your parents has dementia, a progressive and fatal disease. Parent needs care.

Start out, PLEASE by consulting your local Area Agency on Aging (to find out what resources are available) and a certified Eldercare Attorney, to find out how to pay for care and not impoverish the "community spouse" i.e., the one who's doesn't need caregiving

Before you pay out funds, make sure you have a caregiving contract made up that specifies duties, payment, arrangement for respite and the like.
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If he is employed by them then he won't be able to seek other employment, so in my opinion a reasonable wage would be the amount they would have to pay outsiders for the same amount of work. If that is too dear then they (and he) will have to crunch the numbers to decide what amount of care they can afford, just as if they were budgeting for outside care. In this way bother doesn't feel as though he is being taken advantage of and your parents won't expect a ridiculous amount of time from him or demand he perform tasks clearly beyond reasonable bounds. They also will be better prepared to pay for outside caregivers if bro finds employment in his field of work or to face the reality that they can no longer maintain the lifestyle they are accustomed to.
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