how to become paid caregiver for a family member


Becoming a paid family caregiver is a top priority for many of the nearly 70 million people who provide free care for the people they love. If you’re one of these people, you know that, while providing the care is deeply important to you, it can feel grueling to sustain. Especially when you have other dependents to look after, as well.

Maybe you’re missing hours at your regular job or you’ve been forced to give it up altogether. Maybe many of the expenses associated with caregiving are coming out of your pocket. Maybe your busy caregiving schedule has forced you to hire expensive childcare that’s pinching your already slim paycheck even further.

No matter what the case may be, securing payment for your caregiving services can feel like a lifesaver. Luckily, it’s possible and it doesn’t have to create a new financial burden for the person you care for.

Here’s what you need to know.


The CDPAP Program: Making Caregiving Easier for Friends and Family Members

The Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program, or CDPAP, is a new program that allows patients to hire family caregivers and pay them for their services. Sponsored by Medicaid, CDPAP is a free program designed to make in-home care easier, more comfortable, and more accessible for both patients and caregivers.

Under CDPAP, patients have the power to hire, train, and fire the caregivers they work with. This places more authority in the patient’s hands and helps turn the tide of in-home caregiving to be more patient-focused.


3 Big Benefits of CDPAP

While there are several other programs designed to help unpaid family caregivers secure wages for their services, including Medicaid healthcare coverage, these programs can be limited and difficult to access. Medicaid healthcare coverage, for example, usually contracts personal care services from an agency, which makes it difficult for family caregivers to access the funds they need.

What’s more, if you’re already providing most of the care for your loved one, interrupting that arrangement to have an in-home care agency take over can be jarring, at best.

Medicaid runs another program, available in some states, called Cash and Counseling, which provides direct funds to seniors to cover in-home care. This program is limited to seniors with very low income and assets that are too high for Medicaid coverage, however, and will not apply to many seniors.

Finally, there is CDPAP, which stands out as the best of the available in-home care assistance programs. Designed specifically to allow patients to hire family caregivers, CDPAP offers the following benefits:


1. A Safer Care Environment

Under CDPAP, a patient has complete control over who enters his or her home to provide caregiving services. This creates a safer care environment and makes it easy for the patient to take control of his or her home care.

It also has the potential to decrease the risk of elder abuse and theft, since the new caregiver is often a friend, family member, or someone close to the patient.


2. More Predictable Assistance

Home care agencies are typically stretched thin and have a high turnover rate. This can lead to infrequent care and visits, and an unpredictable care schedule for seniors. Luckily, caregivers hired under CDPAP frequently only have one patient to tend to, and can provide more predictable care for their client.


3. Better Patient/Caregiver Relationships

CDPAP households enjoy better patient/caregiver relationships, since the patient has complete control over hiring and training the caregiver. What’s more, because CDPAP allows patients to hire close family members or friends, there’s frequently already a level of closeness between the caregiver and the patient.  


How CDPAP Works

Think of CDPAP as a platform for easier caregiving. From the patient’s side of things, CDPAP provides hiring and training support, payroll management, and training assistance. For the caregiver, on the other hand, CDPAP ensures a regular paycheck (based on hours worked) and removes many of the barriers of traditional family caregiving.

This means family members can care for their loved ones without worrying about placing a financial burden on the patient, or going broke themselves. Services afforded by the CDPAP program include meal preparation, mobility assistance, companionship, monitoring, housework assistance, and more.

Under CDPAP, patients can hire a caregiver they know and trust, even if this caregiver has already been working in an unpaid position for some time. What’s more, no certification is required and CDPAP will furnish training materials, if needed.

As a rule, CDPAP affords for the services typically provided by professionals like nurses, home health aides, and personal care aides.


Who Qualifies for CDPAP?

While CDPAP is an outstanding program, it does have some requirements. These are as follows:

  • The patient must be able to make informed choices regarding his or her care and assistance
  • If the person is unable or unwilling to make informed decisions, they must have a legal guardian or designated provider willing to make the decisions for them
  • The patient enrolling in CDPAP is responsible for recruiting, hiring, training, and supervising caregivers
  • The patient must secure a Physician’s Order for Services and a nursing assessment that define needs and hourly assistance requirements
  • A subsequent nurse assessment visit must be scheduled


How to Get Started With CDPAP

Luckily for both patients and caregivers alike, enrolling in CDPAP is simple and straightforward. Before enrollment can begin, the patient receiving the services must undergo a home visit or assessment designed to evaluate his or her needs and make a care recommendation.

Once the care recommendation is secured, the patient will simply need to choose a caregiver and move through the onboarding process with the help of CDPAP. If you’ve been working as an unpaid family caregiver and you and your loved one are interested in learning more about or enrolling in CDPAP, contact

You can also call their offices at 844-574-1171 to speak to a representative about any questions you might have, or fill out a form on the website. Being an unpaid caregiver doesn’t have to last forever, and CDPAP can help both you and your patient enjoy a healthier and more rewarding care environment.

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