Ask Mike - Being payed to care for disabled son

Dear Mike,

I have been taking care of my adult son with mental and physical impairments and he is on SSD. I have been providing day care in my home for three years and I now need to stop this and take care of my son. How can I find out how to get paid to take care of him now. We live in Ohio.

Thank you

Cares for Son in Ohio

Dear Cares for Son in Ohio,

Thank you for writing. Your son has physical and mental disabilities. He lives at home with you and you have been providing the services he needs while, at the same time, operating a day care in your home. You feel you need to stop the day care and concentrate on your son, but you need to get paid for providing his services. You live in Ohio.

Federal rules do not prohibit your being paid to provide direct services and supports to your son. States may, at their discretion, impose limitations on family members being paid and this varies widely from state-to-state. In recent years, restrictions on family members being paid have been loosening in general, however.

It needs be clear, though, that the issue is whether your son is eligible to receive publicly funded (most likely Medicaid) services and supports, and not your being paid to "care" for him.

It is unclear from your message whether your son is currently receiving formal services from, as is typical, Medicaid. You state your son is on "SSD". I am not familiar with this designation. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are the two entitlements provided by the federal government. SSDI is a benefit for people who have a work history and have become permanently disabled. SSI is a benefit for people with very little or no income due to not having ever earned very much money, or never having worked at all.

If your son receives SSI, he is automatically Medicaid eligible and is likely already receiving the benefit. If he is not currently receiving Medicaid, he will need to apply for Medicaid, qualify for a Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Waiver to receive services, and then you will need to be hired as his worker in order to be paid.

In Ohio, as in most states, long term services and supports are provided via Medicaid Home and Community Based Services Waivers. If you need information about Medicaid, including how to apply, go to Agencies Related to PAS page for Ohio and look at the "Medicaid Agency" section. You can submit all sorts of questions and requests, including the issue of your being paid.

If you want to check out the HCBS programs in Ohio, then go to the Contact Info and Descriptions for Medicaid Waivers page for Ohio. You may be able to determine which Waiver best fits your son's needs and narrow your search, but don't assume anything at this point. Your son will need to apply and be determined eligible and due to the ongoing state budget shortfalls, there may be a substantial waiting list for services even after becoming eligible.

Mike Oxford

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