Orange County Workers’ Comp Attorneys Explain
How to Get Pay for Family Caregivers –
Many individuals with a spouse or family member who was seriously injured at work end up being a full time caregiver to their loved one. Although these caregivers are performing theses duties out of love and commitment, in many cases they may qualify to be paid for their work. However, many of these caregivers do not realize that they may be eligible for compensation from the workers’ compensation insurer for the care they are giving.
Sometimes the workers’ comp insurer delays sending a home health aide. And recently, especially during the ongoing pandemic, there is a shortage of home health aide workers which often means that one is not available. And in other cases, family members may be the preferred caregiver because of the personal or difficult nature of the injury or disease.
But when the family member becomes caregiver, their ability to earn an income can be halted. And in cases where one spouse becomes the caregiver for the other spouse – no “breadwinner” is left to support the family. This can be devastating financially, and can quickly deplete any family’s resources.
However, California workers’ compensation law allows insurers to pay benefits for “attendant care” in cases where the workers have been so severely injured that they can’t take care of themselves. And, although family caregivers often don’t consider the possibility of being compensated, in many instances they can be. It doesn’t matter if the caregiver is a spouse, a child, a cousin, a parent or even friend. It also does not matter whether the person providing the care was previously employed as a healthcare worker or not.
Why Didn’t the Workers’ Comp Insurer Offer to Pay Me for Caregiving?
Unfortunately, the workers comp insurance company usually does not tell family caregivers about the possibility of payment for caring for the injured worker. Since it is money out of their “pocket” the workers comp insurer is typically not going to offer to pay someone to do something that they are already doing for free.
In even worse cases, insurers will even sometimes even dishonestly tell caregivers that paying them is flat-out not an option, when it actually is.
How Do I Get Workers Comp Caregiver Payments?
In the vast majority of workers’ comp cases, attendant care is not necessary. Attendant care must be specifically prescribed by the injured worker’s physician. Attendant care compensation is only available for injuries that cause the worker to lose the ability to perform activities of daily living, including: eating, walking, dressing, bathing, getting in & out of bed, and going to the bathroom.
If an injured worker cannot perform these Activities of Daily Living (ADL), the insurance company must either send professional caregivers, or compensate family members who provide the assistance.
If a family member is providing the care, they need to keep detailed records (a log book or calendar) that specifically states: what services are being performed, why, and when (date, time & hours).
How Much Do Family Caregivers Get Paid?
The hourly rate paid to a family or friend caregiver is calculated based on the cost of hiring a professional attendant to do the same work, in the same city or geographic area. The amount they will be paid has nothing to do with the amount they earned previously from their other line of work
In 2015 an extensive report was ordered by the California Workers Compensation Board that recommended a set fee schedule for caregiver payments. However, most insurance companies will offer to pay unskilled family-provided attendant care a rate of only $10 – $14 per hour. In Orange County a spouse might typically be paid from $12 up to $30 an hour, depending on the ‘skilled’ nature of the care. “Skilled Care” – such as changing colostomy bags or dressing wounds – will generally be paid more than daily living care such as feeding or brushing teeth.
However, family caregiver pay is far from ‘automatic’ in California workers’ compensation cases. So, in may instances, you will not be able to obtain these benefits without the assistance of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.
Orange County Workers Comp Attorneys
If you are the caregiver of a loved one who was injured at work and you are not being compensated, you should consider filing a claim for compensation with the workers’ comp insurer as soon as possible. If you did not, or do not, have an experienced workers compensation attorney for your loved one’s case you are welcome to call our office and speak to one of our experienced Orange County workers compensation attorneys.
Our Workers’ Comp attorneys have helped hundreds of Orange County residents get the workers comp benefits they deserve.
Orange County Workers Comp Attorneys: 562-622-4800.
Workers Compensation attorneys for Los Angeles, Orange County & Southern California, including: Anaheim, Carson, Bellflower, Compton, Downey, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, La Habra, La Mirada, Lakewood, Lomita, Long Beach, San Pedro, Santa Ana, Torrance, Wilmington, Whittier and Yorba Linda.