If you are disabled and live with a caregiver or home aide, here are a few services and benefits you may find helpful.
What is a Live-In Aide? Does My Caregiver Count?
Every program has different rules. Please check the policies for the program you are applying for. For some programs, the person helping you will only be considered a home aide if she is officially hired and paid.
In other programs, any person who is caring for you may be eligible to be considered a home aide. In some circumstances, family members can be an aide. In most cases, you will need a form from your doctor stating you are disabled and need an aide. You do not need to be approved for Social Security to be considered disabled.
Five Secrets for Everyone
Salary – If someone is assisting you with personal care and this is helping you stay out of a nursing home, the state may be able to pay this person a salary for the care they are giving you. The state would rather pay a small amount to your friend or family member who is caring for you, as opposed to a large amount for a nursing home. Learn more about Home Care Waiver Program
Time Off – If the person caring for you is unpaid and needs help, or need more time off, you may find it helpful to look into other programs that can provide an aide during the day to come get your caregiver a break. In some circumstances, there is no charge for this service. Caregiver & Home Aide Programs
Food – If your caregiver lives with you but purchases and prepares separate food, you are eligible for your own food stamps account. Food stamps will consider you and your aide to be two separate “food stamps households”, even though you live together. If your caregiver is low-income, she may also apply for her own food stamps account separately from you. Food Stamps Regulations
Phones – If you and your caregiver do not share bank accounts and finances, you would also be considered two separate “phone households” even if you live together. Free Phone Policies
Utility bills – Your aide’s income may not count for utility assistance, which may mean you can qualify for a utility assistance even if you were turned down in the past. Check with your local energy assistance program. If the person processing your application does not know this policy, it may help to read the utility assistance program manual for your state, find the policy, and show them. In some states, this will only apply to a paid aide.
SSI – If you are on SSI, and you live with a caregiver, this will have no impact on your disability check, as long as your finances are separate and you pay your share of the rent and utilities. Maximum SSI is $750 in most states, and slightly higher in some states. “I Live With Other People. Does Their Money Affect My SSI?” and How Much Rent to Pay on SSI
Five Secrets for Affordable Housing
This is for anyone living in (or applying to) HUD housing, Housing Vouchers, Section 8, public housing or USDA rural rental assistance.
Housing – If you live in certain types of subsidized housing, in some situations, you can add your aide to your housing: How to Request a Live-In Aide
Bedrooms – If you live in certain kinds of affordable housing, when you are approved for a live-in aid, you can also get approved for an additional bedroom for your aide. Obviously, your building or complex will need to actually have larger apartments – they can’t magically materialize extra bedrooms out of thin air! How Rent and Bedrooms Work if You Have a Live in Aide
Rent – Aides do not pay rent in HUD housing. There are two different ways that caregiver income might be excluded from rent calculations: How to Exclude Aide Income from HUD Housing
Housing vouchers – If you have a housing voucher, the voucher amount may increase to accommodate the extra bedroom for your aide. This is called the “payment standard.” Learn more about How to Apply For Section 8 Housing Vouchers
Housing for aide’s family members – According to a new HUD policy, a live in aide can now have a family member live with them as well. For example: If your aide has a child or a spouse: New Changes to Live-In Aide Policies for HUD Housing Vouchers
Plus: If you are applying for housing, also see: How to Apply for Housing if You Have a Caregiver
More Secrets for State Programs (Medicaid and Medi-cal)
If you are receiving a home aide through a program funded by your state, there are a bunch of other benefits that may help you. These programs may be called Medicaid Waivers, Medicaid Home and Community Based Care, IHSS, Long Term Care, or something different in your state. Depending on your state, extra benefits may include:
- Free assistive technology (computer equipment, communication devices, etc)
- Free home modifications (wheelchair ramps, walk in showers, grab bars, etc)
- Funding for a variety of health-related purchases
- No deeming / income does not impact SSI
- No taxes on home aide salary
Learn more about: Ten Secrets for People in Medicaid and Medi-cal Home Care Programs
Carnation Gets Utility Assistance
“I was told I did not qualify for energy assistance. Then I found out about the live-in aide rules. I filled out the application and I did not write down any information on my aide’s income or assets. Instead, I wrote: see attached. I attached a note saying: I have not included financial information for my live in aide because live-in aide income is excluded and I attached with a copy of the policy. A few weeks later, I received a utility assistance of $500! My only sadness is that I could have been getting this assistance years ago.”
Meet Jane and Sally – Example of affordable rent and other live-in aide benefits
Thanks for Reading
🌷 This page is part of the free online guide: The Sleepy Girl Guide to State Home Aides
🌷 Page Updated: 8/1/19
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