Can I Get Paid To Be a Caregiver?

Can I Get Paid to be a Caregiver in Orange County?

The short answer is, maybe.


Caregiving is one of the most difficult jobs on the planet and it is, more often than not, completely uncompensated. The state of California thankfully recognizes the important role that you as a family caregiver play in our healthcare system and has created programs designed to support you in this role. However, it’s important to note that in order to qualify for these programs, both you and your care recipient need to meet certain eligibility criteria.


The Programs: Standard Care

In this article, we’ll briefly touch on what programs are available to you for paid family caregiving and show you where to find more information if the program sounds like a potential fit for your situation.

  • In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS). IHSS is a Medi-Cal (California Medicaid) program that supports people to maintain life in their own homes with help completing basic (non-skilled) tasks like household chores. If eligible for the program, your loved one is able to pick their support person. This means they can select you or another family member to get paid. In California, spouses, siblings, niece/nephews, friends, and more may be eligible. To qualify, your loved one needs a demonstrated physical and significant financial need, which can be evaluated by applying for Medi-Cal.

  • California Paid Family Leave Act (PFL). California PFL is a program designed to help you care for a loved one while receiving partial reimbursement for missed salary from your job. You are not directly being paid to be a caregiver - instead, you’re receiving a subsidy for your existing job. In order to qualify, you’ll need to have a job (or have recently had a job) that paid into California’s Disability insurance. If eligible, PFL will compensate you between 60% up to 70% of your income (the higher percentage is available if you’re in a low-income household) for up to 8 weeks in a 12-month period. Note: If applying for PFL, it’s worth also applying for CFRA (California Family Rights Act) to ensure your leave of absence is protected from job loss or demotion. You can apply for both on the EDD website.

  • Long Term Care Insurance. Your loved one may have insurance that can help. If your loved one has long term care insurance, they may be eligible to hire you as their help. This option is difficult to qualify for even if they have the correct insurance plan because it often excludes services available within a care home. But it is an option worth reviewing depending on your situation. Contact the insurance provider for more information.

The Programs: Veteran Care

If you’re caring for a veteran, you’ll have a few more options available for receiving compensation for your care. While not helpful for everyone, there are about 130,000 veterans in Orange County, so they are worth mentioning. Let’s dive into those next.

  • Aid and Attendance Pension. The first option available for veteran care is the Aid and Attendance Pension program. It is only available to wartime veterans and their spouses who require assistance with daily life in their homes, but spouses are not eligible to receive compensation for care (but children, friends, and other relatives are eligible). The requirements are a bit more involved than what we can cover in this post, so it’s worth reviewing the va.gov website and potentially contacting a veterans pension planner for assistance.

  • Veteran-Directed Care Program. The Veteran-Directed Care Program is another veteran-specific option available for paid family caregiving. If the veteran in your care is currently using a VA Medical Care Center and needs care at a level that would qualify them for a nursing home, this may be a good option. The VA Medical Center in Orange County does not yet offer this service according to the acl.gov website, but the San Diego VA does and should be able to advise.

Try the Questionnaire

If you’re looking for an easier way to determine your eligibility for paid caregiving, this quiz provided by Paying for Senior Care should help you find the answer.


Closing Thoughts

There are options available to help your family through the too-often financial turmoil family caregiving can have. You are not alone through this and the state of California has many programs designed to help.


For further reading and resources, we invite you to check out our library of information for family caregivers by clicking here. You are also welcome to give us a call at 800-543-8312 to find out more about how we can support you in your caregiving journey.