When accidents happen, mom or dad have fallen on the ice, or have begun the onset of dementia, it’s usually time to call in the professionals. Many folks are not allowed to leave the hospital without home care. Upon discharge from the hospital, you, as a consumer, will be handed a long list of providers that can help you get back home and stay home. The hospitals don’t always know the licensed agencies, nor are they allowed to select one for you. This is where it gets difficult.
How are you supposed to know who to hire? Your head is spinning as mom/dad needs to be discharged with help and you don’t know the first thing about this process. Obtaining a quality Home Care Agency is vital to the continued health and safety of your loved one, so choose wisely.
Some points to remember:
Check to see if the agency is accredited by the Better Business Bureau before doing anything else.
Check if this agency is legal. You may do so by visiting www.dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/health-care.../home-services.
It is absolutely vital that you verify and check that this agency is licensed to operate in Illinois. Secondly, you need to look at whether the agency is Home Services or Home Placement. There is a vast difference and it's a difference that can hurt you. IF THEY ARE NOT ON THE IDPH WEBSITE, THEN THEY ARE NOT LICENSED TO HAVE AN AGENCY HERE IN ILLINOIS.
Full service agencies ARE the employer of the professionally trained caregiver, responsible for all the taxes, both state and federal. In addition to the above, Home Services Agencies have liability insurance on the caregivers should anything happen. You always want to be protected. These caregivers are verified, reference checked, supervised on a continual basis, and agencies also oversee that the care plan is being adhered to. We work closely with the families to ensure all is being taken care of in the home. Most especially, if a caregiver is sick, we send a replacement so that the client is not unattended, which so sadly often happens.
Home Placement, on the other hand, does NOT take out taxes, they use independent contractors, and then the independent contractors are supposed to file their individual taxes. A Placement Agency charges you a FEE to place the caregiver in your home, in addition to charging the caregiver a fee also. SOMETINES THESE TWO FEES ARE WORLDS APART. After the caregiver is placed in your home, the relationship with the placement agency ENDS . By LAW, you now become the employer of that caregiver in your home and as such are liable for all the employment taxes, in addition to HAVING TO following the department of labor's NEW RULINGS AND DOCUMENTATION LAWS on live-in caregivers. Caregivers living in 24/7 must now be paid hourly on a live-in job, and in addition to the above, they must get overtime after the first 40 hours. You would also need to take out insurance on this caregiver, as they will and do, have access to many financial and personal items in your home.
I can’t tell you the amount of times people get hurt today. I could write a book about the horrible stories I hear form distraught families on what took place because they took the cheaper route and even hired privately. It is our frail elderly that we try so hard to protect. Families don’t always know the dangers lurking in the shadows. Most of our baby boomers think Medicare covers Home Care. Well, it’s sad to say, it does NOT. IT IS ALL PRIVATE PAY. On that note, you need to be able to write some of this off on your taxes, so that’s why it’s so important to hire a legitimate agency and have the care documented so you can try and get some relief. If you pay cash and don’t file taxes on the caregiver, you are on your own. The IRS is clamping down on this now and asking on forms if the caregiver did or did not file a 1099, and if not, why? This leaves a very clear path back to the door of your parents' home and the IRS will, and has, come back to get what they are owed. They have years to do so.
Supervision, communication, and safety are all a part of legal agencies - number one concern. The senior is the one to be protected, both physically, spirituality and financially. Many folks choose the cheaper option thinking this is the way to get a quick fix to the issues they have been thrown into. The reason Home Services agencies are a little more expensive is because they are the employer and are responsible for the training, taxes, insurance, supervision, and communication from all parties to maintain a good working relationship. They take that additional burden away from you so you can focus on your loved one. When the client's situation changes, the agency is right there with you assisting you through the process. Placement agencies are not. It is your moral duty to ensure that the right agency is chosen. In essence, this person’s life is in our hands.
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We would be happy to help you with any questions that you may have.