Update: The implementation date for the "look back" has been extended from July 1, 2021…
A Caregiver Agreement is a contract between an individual who needs support services and the party who is to provide these services. The caregiver might be a family member, or it could be a professional, such as a geriatric care manager or a home care agency.
Caregiver Agreements can be very helpful in Elder Law planning and offer certain distinct advantages:
- They are a good way to reduce or avoid Medicaid penalties while keeping your assets working for you.
- They offer a way for a Medicaid recipient to get additional care that wouldn’t be covered by Medicaid while reducing your countable “resources” so you can qualify for Medicaid.
- They provide a way for a person to provide financial assistance to children or family members who are providing care without it feeling like a handout.
- They help to avoid resentment and guilt between the caregiver sibling and other siblings who are unwilling or unable to help with care.
This is how Caregiver Agreements work: the patient pays the caregiver up front for services to improve his/her well-being and quality of life. In order to avoid a Medicaid penalty, the contract must specify the services provided and the hours to be worked, and the lump sum payment must be calculated using a reasonable life expectancy and accurate market rates for services. The caretaker must keep a daily log of actual services provided and the hours worked and create invoices. Upon the death of the patient, any unearned amounts must be paid to Medicaid to reimburse it for the services that it provided.
If you need care outside the scope of what Medicaid will cover, a Caregiver Agreement may be a helpful strategy. Our Elder Law Attorneys at Lamson & Cutner have deep experience creating these agreements, and they can help you determine whether this strategy might work well for you.
Give our office a call at: (212) 447-8690, or Contact Us Here. To learn about other services that may be of benefit to you or your loved one in planning for care, view Our Services page.