Can I legally use my Mother's money to pay myself an hourly wage or salary without affecting her ability to enter a nursing home? - AgingCare.com

Can I legally use my Mother's money to pay myself an hourly wage or salary without affecting her ability to enter a nursing home?

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So here is my question. I have been paying an in-home health company $17 an hour to bring aides into my mother's home to care for her about 40 hours a week while I go to work. I am trying to keep my mother out of nursing home as long as possible.

I have been really underwhelmed with the level of care the aides have been providing for the last 6 months or so, and it has me wondering...can I legally pay myself a similar hourly wage or salary out of my mother's own money WITHOUT it affecting her ability to go into a nursing home via Medicaid should she need to enter one in the next year or two?

I have been caring for my mother for almost 9 years and have never paid myself one cent. Just wondering what my options are.

Thanks all and happy Saturday to you.

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I do think there should be a way to do this if she is mentally competent, but not so easily done if she is incompetent. If the payments were reasonable (very reasonable I would say) and there was a written agreement witnessed which other stakeholders were involved in, then there should be a way to do it. Lets say for example you can come to an agreement for room and board and specific cares she needs (dressing? bathing? lifting? driving?) then there may be a way to do it. If you are her POA and you are paying yourself, then somewhere there needs to be a written record and agreement out in the open. How much does she have left in savings before she has nothing but her social security? How long do you think it might be until she can't stay with you any longer?
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i quit my job to care for my mother she is now residing with me. She still has some savings plus her social sercurity. I want to take a salary from this, also can i charge her for her room and board. I don't want to have any problems in case she does end up in a nursing home if i cant handle her care anymore
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DeiGratia...thank you very, very much for your insight. I understand about family members getting GREEDY when it comes to my mother's assets. They don't talk or visit with her for years but when it comes time to discuss who the house would go to after she passes away, they show their true colors. (And by the way...I am the one who has taken care of my mother daily for almost 9 years, not to mention that I personally took out the loan to fix up her home because it was in disrepair when she had her strokes and her credit was terrible so she couldn't take out the loan herself.)

But anyway...that is a whole different story for a different day...

Family members...unfortunately you don't get to pick 'em!

;/
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PS For the record, I couldn't care less if I get any money out of mother's estate at all. I never expected anything anyway. I just don't want her care to be compromised. My family on the other hand will fight tooth and nail to make her stay OUT of a nursing home so that there is a house and money left for them in the end. Nice people, huh?
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Definitely be careful investigating the pay issue. In one circumstance after mother was hospitalized, I was told by her therapists that if I took some training classes, I would be able to qualify to be paid as one of her caregivers. Great, I thought! However, in my state, mother would have to be put on Medicaid first. She won't do that. Even then, you have to navigate carefully so that you do not upset the possibility of state payment if she ever needs a nursing home.

When papers were drawn up for mother's house to be put in other's names the attorney kept trying to steer the family into putting me as her caregiver so that the house would not be taken if mom would go into a home - as I would be the adult child who still needs a home etc. Family did not like that idea, because it would allow me something and maybe not them. In the end, the house does not have my name anywhere on it. However, if she goes into a nursing home within 5 years of signing such paperwork, the state can say, "you were just trying to keep from paying us - give us the value of her care in the home out of the value of that house - then you can keep what's leftover if anything is leftover...."

So be careful how you tread. Check with multiple people in agencies and also an attorney to make sure that HOW you set up payment to yourself doesn't ruin something else un-be-knownst to you.

Good luck.
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Thank you all for your comments and answers. This is helpful.

Yes, $17 an hour is a lot, but they are on the low side in my city as the other two agencies I contacted were between $19-20 an hour. Not quite sure how much the aide actually gets vs. the agency's cut.

After paying the agency monthly, mom only has enough money for her basics of food, diapers and doctor copayments. It is a lot to spend but it is worth it right now for MY mental health.

But again, if I cut back on some of my outside work hours and were legally able to pay myself some of what I am paying the agency, maybe I could make it work a while longer to keep her out of a nursing home.

Contacting an elder care attorney is probably what I should do to be certain. Thanks gladimhere for that piece of advice.

9 years has been soooooooo long...
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I was not implying that I was paid that amount. Simply that is what Medicaid would permit. I'm sure there are not many family caregivers that are paid anywhere close to that! What happened in my family with siblings was unbelieveable, vindictive and just plain hateful. I provided care for Mom and her hubby for four very difficult and trying years.
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Oh my! I can see why your name is "glad I'm here"....I don't even know how people survive this.
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One additional comment. If this is a 40 hour a week job for you, you are very fortunate! I was 24/7 caregiver for mom, she did attend daycare monday through friday, about 25 hours a week. I got about five hours of sleep each night and had an agency caregiver for eight hours on Saturday. So my work week was about 100 hours! And make sure you budget in some time each week, eight hours one day, you will need time for you!
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Does your mother have an attorney that would negotiate a care agreement with you? A Geriatric Care Manager may also be permitted to assist with determining the level if care and appropriate rate of pay. You cannot negotiate with yourself. Do you have siblings? They may have a problem with this. In my state Medicaid permits payment to a family member at wages similar to what the care would cost from agencies in my area about $20.00/hour. Rates for care must be checked with three agencies. Before you receive a dime, the care agrement must be in place, and all applicable taxes, including Medicare, unemployment and disability must also be paid.

Another option may be the home. Does she own her home? Or is she stayingin yours? In some states Medicaid permits transferring the home to a child caregiver if that child provides medically necessary care for a period of two years prior to entering a nursing home. Assisted living or memory care do not qualify for that exemption.

See an attorney that is licensed by NAELA (National Association of Elder Law Attorneys) for assistance with this to ensure you mother's Medicaid eligibility will not be effected. Money well spent!
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