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The Benefits of Becoming a CNA when Caring for Family Members at Home


If you are caring for a sick child or ailing parent, it is possible to earn a regular income for your services by becoming a certified nursing assistant (CNA). Since Medicaid is the sponsor of many of these programs, availability is at the discretion of your local government and benefits vary throughout different states. However, as the Affordable Care Act continues to expand Medicaid and Medicare benefits, your state of residence may make these funds available to you and your family in the near future.

What does a CNA do?

CNAs perform the activities of daily living for patients and provide basic nursing care. Skilled tasks include areas of care such as:

  • Assistance with feeding and meal preparation
  • Dressing, bathing and grooming
  • Skin care and personal hygiene
  • Assistance with mobility, transfers and safety
  • Housekeeping, running errands and shopping
  • Reporting health changes to healthcare providers

Depending on your state of residence, your CNA program may require two weeks to one month of training. You are required to pass the skills test and the written exam to fulfill certification requirements. In addition, you may be employed by a home health agency that expects you to turn in documented time sheets, attend monthly meetings and complete additional training when necessary.

Acquiring Compensation when Caring for Your Child

For parents who provide care for a child with complex disabilities and require extensive care, several states, such as Colorado, may pay you as a caregiver if you receive training as a CNA. Providing care for a seriously ill child can be extremely difficult and prevent a parent from working outside the home. In addition, you may live in an area that is experiencing a shortage of caregivers and obtaining a CNA can significantly help you perform optimal care for your child at home.

Before you begin the journey to becoming a CNA, ensure your child’s SSI and Medicaid benefits support your plans to earn an income as a caregiver at home. Although most states have paid family caregiver programs in place, some prohibit family members from performing care for pay. Be sure to research your State Medicaid Agency for waivers and special programs for disabled children in your particular location.

Earning an Income for Caring for an Elderly Parent at Home

If you are caring for a disabled parent or spouse who is homebound, your state Medicaid program may allow you to work as a CNA for hourly pay at home. Often, people who care for their loved ones take on enormous responsibilities and are unable to continue the demands of employment. Fortunately, some programs can help you earn an income. Most Medicaid and Medicare programs that support your efforts to care for a parent do not allow more than 40 hours of weekly pay. Most often, you may work through a home health agency that pays you through your parent’s benefits via the State Medicaid Agency. Although some states are supportive of your dedication to your loved one, not all allow a family member to be paid for their services. Spend the time to research the benefits that your state has made available to you and your loved ones.


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