Many people hire caregivers to help them with certain duties and responsibilities that they can no longer manage. This may include helping with meals, housecleaning, bill paying or more personal activities such as bathing or dressing. Sometimes these caregivers are from a private agency. Frequently, however they are family or friends who help take care of a loved one who wants to remain in their home. Under the Medicaid rules, payment for these services within 5 years of applying for Medicaid benefits will be considered a divestment unless a Medicaid compliant contract is in place. Even though few people anticipate entering a nursing home or eventually needing Medicaid benefits, it is recommended that a Medicaid compliant caregiver contract be established for all personal caregiver arrangements.
For a caregiver agreement to be Medicaid compliant, it must meet these requirements:
- Be executed before the services are performed.
- Be dated, notarized and signed by the parties or the recipient’s agent, guardian or conservator unless the person signing on their behalf is also their caregiver.
- No compensation until the services are performed.
- The services cannot be provided for someone who is residing in a nursing home, adult foster home or other facility.
- At the time the services are received, the person cannot be eligible for home and community based waiver, home health or home help.
- The contract must show the type, frequency and duration of the services and the amount of payment.
- The contract cannot include payment for companionship services.
If your loved one is considering hiring any caregivers, an experienced elder law attorney can help avoid a potential Medicaid penalty even if Medicaid benefits are not expected to be needed.