Paying Caregiver Under the Table

Last updated: May 19, 2024
Medicaid Long Term Care | Questions and AnswersCategory: OtherPaying Caregiver Under the Table
Anonymous asked 5 years ago

How does paying a caregiver under the table impact Medicaid eligibility?

1 Answers
medicaidplanner Staff answered 5 years ago

Paying a caregiver under the table (unreported employment often paid in cash) may cause an applicant to be ineligible for Medicaid. However, this is not always the case.

The reason that it may result in Medicaid denial, at least for a specific period of time, is that Medicaid has a Look-Back Period. This is 60-months immediately preceding one’s long-term care Medicaid application date in which Medicaid reviews all past asset transfers. If it is found that an applicant has given assets away or sold them under fair market value during this timeframe, they will be penalized with a period of Medicaid ineligibility. Medicaid is trying to discourage applicants from giving away their assets in order to meet the asset limit. Unfortunately, when paying a caregiver under the table, it may look like the applicant has been gifting money.

If a Medicaid applicant has been paying a caregiver under the table, they must prove that the payments were for caregiving services. Payments for the same amount each month made to a non-relative might be rather easy to resolve. While a formal written caregiver agreement would be ideal, a signed timesheet would likely suffice as “proof” that the payments were made to a caregiver. If the caregiver is an adult child of the Medicaid applicant, it is much more difficult to prove that the payments were made for providing care. In this case, a signed caregiver agreement is extremely important to prevent Medicaid from considering payments to the adult child as “gifts”.

As a side note, a caregiver agreement must list the services in which the caregiver will provide, as well as the payment amount. It is crucial that the caregiver’s pay be reasonable, or put another way, in line with the average pay of caregivers in the area.

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