Getting Paid as a Family Caregiver (3 Government Benefits Programs to Consider)

Caregiving is an essential, yet often undervalued, part of our society. With an aging population, the demand for family caregivers is at an all-time high. So, many people often wonder, can a family member get paid for caregiving

The answer is yes. There are programs and benefits available that provide financial support to family caregivers. In this article, we will explore three of these key programs, providing much-needed support to caregivers.


  1. As of 2022, an estimated 53 million Americans provide unpaid care to an adult with health or functional needs.
  2. Family caregivers spend an average of 24.4 hours per week providing care, with many spending over 40 hours.
  3. Almost half (46%) of family caregivers suffer high emotional stress.

Medicaid Self-Directed Services (MSDS)

The Medicaid Self-Directed Care Program, or simply Self-Directed Care, offers the possibility of compensation to caregivers who are providing support to their family members. This program is designed for individuals who are financially eligible for Medicaid and require assistance with everyday tasks such as bathing, dressing, meal preparation, or medication management.

Under Self-Directed Care, participants have a budget they can use to pay for their caregiving needs, including paying a family member for their care. The specifics of this program can vary by state, so it’s crucial to consult your local Medicaid office to understand the eligibility criteria and compensation details.


  1. As of 2021, about 68 million people were enrolled in Medicaid, including many seniors and individuals with disabilities. 
  2. Approximately 1.2 million individuals participated in self-directed Medicaid programs in 2020.

Veteran Directed Care

The Veterans Directed Care (VDC) program is an excellent resource for family members caring for veterans. This program is available to veterans of any age eligible for VA healthcare and needing personal care services. With this program, veterans can employ a family member as a paid caregiver and have the peace of mind that comes with being cared for by a loved one.

The Veterans Directed Care (VDC) program is part of the Veterans Health Administration’s standard medical benefits package. Interested veterans can reach out to their VA social worker or the local VA medical center for more information. Since the stipulations and eligibility criteria can vary, caregivers are advised to check with the local Veterans Affairs office or consult the VA’s official website for comprehensive information. 


  1. As of 2021, over 9 million veterans were enrolled in the VA healthcare system.
  2. The Veteran Directed Care program served about 11,000 veterans in 2019.

FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act)

FMLA, or The Family and Medical Leave Act, is a US law that provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected time off every year to care for a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition. 

Although FMLA does not offer payment, it provides job security, allowing caregivers to balance work and their caregiving responsibilities without the fear of losing their job. Importantly, it also underscores the value of caregiving work and helps promote a culture of support for such essential tasks in the workplace.


  1. As of 2020, 56% of U.S. workers were eligible for FMLA. 
  2. Approximately 18% of FMLA leaves were taken for the care of a family member with a serious health condition. 


Q: What States Pay Family Caregivers?

All states have some form of a program that can pay family caregivers, but the specifics vary from state to state. Some states that offer payment programs for family caregivers include California, New York, Massachusetts, and Washington. 

Q: How Much Do Family Caregivers Get Paid?

On average, family caregivers can expect to be paid an hourly wage comparable to that of a professional caregiver, which can range from $10 to $20 per hour. However, it’s crucial to contact the relevant government program or a social worker for precise figures.

Q: How to Get Paid for Taking Care of a Disabled Spouse?

To get paid by the state for taking care of a disabled spouse, you can explore the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) program. Contact your local Medicaid office to apply for an HCBS waiver and inquire about the eligibility criteria and application process. 


Family caregivers provide invaluable services that often go unrecognized. Financial strain can make an already challenging job even more difficult. Fortunately, government programs like Medicaid Self-Directed Services, Veteran Directed Care, and FMLA offer much-needed support. It’s worth exploring these options to see if you or your family qualify. 

So, don’t hesitate to reach out to professionals for help with applications and paperwork—it can make a world of difference. Through these resources, family caregivers can find the support they need to continue their invaluable work with the reassurance that their own well-being is being considered as well.


  1. National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. (2020). Caregiving in the U.S. 2020.
  2. AARP Public Policy Institute. (2015). Caregiving in the U.S.
  3. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. (2022). Medicaid & CHIP Enrollment Data.
  4. National Resource Center for Participant-Directed Services. (2021). Annual Self-Direction Data.
  5. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2021). VA Utilization Profile FY 2021.
  6. Veterans Health Administration. (2019). Veteran Directed Care.
  7. U.S. Department of Labor. (2020). Family and Medical Leave in 2020.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You might also be interested