Paying family members for caregiving. Any advice?

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My sister traveled from FL to OH to care for elderly mother for 5 days last week. She now insists to be paid for service and airfare. How can I do this without having it appear as a family gift of money which would negatively affect future application for financial assistance such as medicaid?

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If your mom is on Medicaid, which is likely if she's on disability, you could see if Medicaid will pay you a stipend for some care. State's vary on their rules for Medicaid so you'll have to check locally. The amount isn't likely to be as much as a full-time job but it would help.

Otherwise, if your mother has some assets, you could draw up a contract between the two of you and have it notarized, or see an estate or elder law attorney to have a contract drawn up. You want to do this legally so that if your mom does go on Medicaid they won't come after you for the money paid out. Since states can be so different, I'd strongly suggest going through an attorney who knows your state Medicaid laws.

Good luck,
Carol
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Thanks for the speedy replies. Mom is in independent senior apartment and we are just starting to provide care service for pay as recommended by the service manager. She is not on Medicaid but may be in the future. That is why I don't what to jeopardize qualification with the appearance of family gifts.

I didn't ask my sister to come up, but certainly did not object to a visit from her. Mom may have asked her. There was no discussion of compensation prior to the visit. This most recent visit I had to loan her airfare.

3 children, me and 2 sisters. Mom in OH. Youngest sister lives 5 miles away. Sister in FL. And me in OH 130 miles away. Younger sis visits often, almost daily, sometime multiple per day, usually short under an hour. Sister in FL not often. Years without a trip to OH. But twice this year since Mom has been ill. I typically see her about monthly. More often this year. I often time visits so I can transport her to doctor appointments. No compensation has been made before aside from Mom slipping a few bucks to younger sis or grandchildren for "gas money".

It may be inappropriate for older sis to ask for remuneration, but as steward of the meager funds the family has, I have to deal with it. We can afford to do it, but that will mean fund will deplete sooner. Once our resource is depleted, Mom will have to apply for Medicaid. She has made family gifts in the past which, to my knowledge, would disqualify her. I am attempting to curtail that.

So I need to know how to make payment to older sis and have it appear legitimate care expense and not a gift.

No, I am not paid or compensated and not really interested in receiving such. I do not like spending time on this. I am not wealthy but I am able to live on retirement income without assistance.

Thanks again for the advice.
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Little more information please....your profile states that you're caring for your mother, that she's in a independent living facility.

Was your sister specifically asked to come and help out? If so, were any discussions had regarding reimbursement?

Are there other siblings, and if so, have they visited, with or w/o compensation?

If your sister came voluntarily, on her own initiative, I think it's inappropriate to now ask for remuneration.

And evning out the situation, are you compensated for your work?
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Jeff, male vs. female thinking - logic vs. not so logical. I know that well! What's the saying about being from Mars or Venus??

As to your response to Carol, excuse me for answering but I do want to issue some cautions. A social agency might offer guidelines on Medicaid apps and qualifications but wouldn't really be qualified to draft contracts (although I understand that's not what you're asking).

There are a couple alternatives, since contracts really should be prepared by attorneys.

Legal aide" in SE Michigan one law school has an elder law planning legal aide clinic, and there are a number of legal aid agencies. Some law firms also provide pro bono services.

Contact your local county bar association and/or find the number for any county bar association legal library. Ask the librarians for information on sample contracts suitable for family caregiving Medicaid compliance.

ICLE: Institute of Continuing Legal Education. The Michigan one has excellent seminars with excellent manuals. The courses are expensive but even if you didn't want to take one (and I'm not sure they would cover Medicaid rules), the cost of the manual would be cheaper than legal counsel.

Some law firms hold informal "seminars" in which they provide a lecture then Q & A sessions afterwards. You could pick up some tips at one of these.

Ask the Area Agency on Aging if they plan to hold their annual AAA Caregiving Expos anytime soon. That's also an excellent place to see which elder law attorneys are very active, offer free handouts with good advice, and may have free "seminars".

The only online source I would ever consider for guidance on forms is Nolo Publishing. I sought advice from their sites years ago and it was "spot on", exactly the kind of advice I'd expect from knowledgeable legal professionals (I've worked in a wide variety of legal practice areas over about 40 years +/- so I knew what I wanted when I did the research).

Good luck.
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You're smart to be looking ahead to Medicaid issues. I would really suggest that you get to an elder care attorney for advice going forward. The lawyer will advice you whether you can compensate your sister or whether this will create another hurdle later. This may not be the only time your sister flies up and expects compensation so it'd be best to address this now. Sometimes it helps bridge the communication gap between emotional and logical when a professional third party backs you up.
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Not to sound unkind about your sister, but it sounds as if she could have a personality disorder, and possibly be a narcissist.
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Jeff, just a quick thought before it escapes my mind:

What about an alternative to a visit by your sister? Could you set up a Skype for your mother - either you or your sister who visits regularly could bring it at a specified time/date and connect with your FL sister (assuming FL sister would spring for the cost of her own Skype)?

I'm wondering also if the facility in which your mother resides has any of its own computer connections for the residents? If they do and have the Skype software and equipment, that would be even better.

I don't have any other suggestions on the other issues in your last post at this time other than to agree to let the issues sit for a few days while you collect your thoughts. It sounds as if this is a situation for which you really want a solid plan going forward.
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Mom has a computer and internet access. She uses email. I think she tried Skype with FL sister. Not sure about results. I don't have it. Especially after illness this year there was no substitute for visits, which were very valuable to Mom. I'm sure she (and I) would consider sister's visit a worthwhile expenditure of a reasonable sum. I just need to know how to avoid jeopardizing financial assistance qualifications as I am certain we'll need that down the road.
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Thanks. I am searching for an attorney in the area who indicates Elder Care on their website. Out of a dozen or so there has been one and he is 50 miles away.
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Jeff, contact either your State Bar Association, ask if they list practice group (elder law) specialties on their website as you're looking for an elder law attorney.

These are generally the ones who are the most active in their field, speaking, presenting seminars, etc. I've worked for a few who aren't very reputable so you need to be sure you get a good one.

The bar association for the county in which you live, or a larger county, may also be able to provide you with this information.

Ask about rates - some will prepare documents for a flat fee; others charge by the hour.
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