The Real Cost of Hiring Private Homecare Workers

After running a hwoman and ladyome care agency for more than a decade one starts to recognize the price shoppers.  They just want to know the hourly rate and none of the benefits.  Those that find out the hard way, are later paying an in home senior care agency.

When you hire a caregiver through an agency you get a depth of knowledge and expertise to ensure the best possible care for your loved one.  A team approach typically involves an initial assessment by a clinician who consults with scheduling to determine the appropriate type of caregivers.  Savvy schedulers assemble the best care team to ensure consistency of care. Typically a licensed or accredited agency is the employer of the caregivers therefore assuming any liabilities.  Those that hire privately must assume the liabilities which encompass tax obligations.  Also known as the ‘nanny tax,’ once a home caregiver is paid $1,900 in a given year, then the employer must:

  • Obtain federal and state household employer tax IDs
  • Withhold Social Security and Medicare (FICA) taxes every pay period
  • Consider withholding federal and state income taxes so their caregivers aren’t liable for significant taxes
  • Track employer taxes for each caregiver and file federal estimated tax payments quarterly
  • File and pay quarterly state and employment taxes. Note:  If you terminate a caregiver then you may be responsible for unemployment pay.
  • Annually prepare W2 forms for all caregivers, and prepare and file a W3 for social security.
  • Complete Schedule H on your personal federal income tax return

Additional items to consider that would be covered by an agency and may cost you in the end:

  • If a caregiver is injured on the job, then the family is responsible for all medical expenses and disability payments. Note: Back injuries for example are easy to feign, harder to deny.
  • Caregiver screening is costly but worthwhile. A reputable home care agency will include annual criminal background and DMV checks, verification of eligibility to legally work in the US, and drug and TB health screenings.
  • An agency will provide constant supervision and reinforcement of policies.  If that fails, they are insured to cover losses.
  • Caregivers need ongoing education and peer exchange. It makes them better caregivers!
  • Caregivers deserve benefits such as vacation pay and employer matched retirement plans.

Last but certainly not least, an in home care agency provides oversight of the care of your loved one.  A caregiving team will continually assess client needs and adapt as necessary.  This may mean revising care plans, bringing in more qualified caregivers as needs increase or conscientious referral to outside services.  It also means that family does not need to worry about scheduling especially on Holidays! Caregivers are human and issues do arise preventing them from being at work.  An agency is constantly screening and hiring caregivers so they are equipped to have a depth of resources and available 24/7 to quickly resolve issues.

When considering what you are willing to pay for care, consider the expense to your loved one in quality care and to you in administrative work.

Originally appeared on: http://www.homecarechoice.com/uncategorized/hiring-private-homecare-caregiver-vs-home-care-agency

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Janet Faraone founded a non-medical, senior home care company in 2000; back before Home Care was a household word. As a pioneer in the industry, she learned the intricacies of helping families navigate the needs of seniors and opened a care management division. After more than a decade of helping seniors, she and her husband, Nick, sold their business to start a new chapter. When she’s not hiking or skiing with her family, or volunteering in the community, she’ll share her stories in the hopes that they will bring comfort and insight to caregivers and seniors.Janet Faraone founded a non-medical, senior home care company in 2000; back before Home Care was a household word. As a pioneer in the industry, she learned the intricacies of helping families navigate the needs of seniors and opened a care management division. After more than a decade of helping seniors, she and her husband, Nick, sold their business to start a new chapter. When she’s not hiking or skiing with her family, or volunteering in the community, she’ll share her stories in the hopes that they will bring comfort and insight to caregivers and seniors.

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