Page Reviewed / Updated – March 25, 2024

Social Security may provide payments to select caregivers under specific circumstances, and other government agencies and programs offer financial assistance for caregivers as well. This is important because serving as the primary caregiver for a family member is often a full-time job. Caregivers who are unable to work outside the home require other sources of income to cover their expenses and maintain their standard of living.

When Social Security Will Pay a Caregiver Directly

Social Security pays benefits for individuals who are retired, disabled, a surviving relative of someone covered by Social Security or dependents of those who receive Social Security. Benefits come in the form of monthly payments.

The program doesn’t pay directly for a recipient’s expenses. Instead, you can use the monthly payment as you see fit. As a result, you could use all or some of your Social Security benefits to pay for a caregiver.

An exception may be made for spouses responsible for caring for the child of a Social Security recipient. Social Security Administration rules require that the child be 16 years of age or younger or disabled. The child must also be eligible to claim Social Security benefits on their parent’s record. In this case, the spouse serving as a caregiver would receive monthly Social Security payments but not direct wages from the Social Security Administration.

Financial Support for Caregivers

Although Social Security typically doesn’t pay for caregivers, financial support is available through other national programs. Depending on where you live, a caregiver may also be eligible for payments through state and local services. The Eldercare Locator provided by the Administration for Community Living and the Administration of Aging lets you search for programs near you.

Paying Caregivers With Medicaid

Individuals who qualify for Medicaid may be able to use the Medicaid Self-Directed Care to pay caregivers. This program puts decisions related to health care management in the hands of Medicaid recipients. Each state develops its own rules for self-directed care. Some allow caregivers to receive wages for providing care at home or receive reimbursement for expenses related to caregiving.

Using Veterans Programs to Pay Caregivers

Many veterans can cover the cost of caregivers through the Veteran-Directed Home and Community-Based Services program. With its flexible budgeting, this program allows veterans to pay for the services and goods that are most beneficial to them. The funds can be used to hire a personal care aide, and family members and friends generally qualify for employment in the role. Aid and Attendance benefits connected to the VA pension plan also provide payments for caregivers. Get in touch with the VA pension management center for your area for more information.

Filing Long-Term Care Insurance Claims to Pay Caregivers

Most long-term care insurance plans cover the costs associated with hiring a caregiver. Some policies do exclude caregivers who live with the person requiring care, which makes spouses and adult children who share a residence ineligible. The agency that sold you the policy can help you determine whether you can pay a caregiver through your insurance.