January 13, 2015 by Dean Bellefeuille

home care options

In our last blog, we shared some crucial basic information about shopping for home care. Even more critical, however, is understanding the facts when it comes to selecting a caregiver from a registry or private hire, such as you see advertised in the Classifieds section of the newspaper. While it can sound appealing: “Woman with years of home care experience available immediately to care for your loved one – low rate guaranteed!” there are a number of additional factors that need to be considered.

Registry/Private Hire vs. the Home Care Agency

Although hiring a caregiver privately or through a registry may seem more affordable than a professional agency at first glance, there are hidden costs and risks associated with the private hire and registry.

  • Tax Issues/Worker’s Compensation: A professional agency employs its caregivers and is responsible for all worker’s compensation and Social Security, unemployment and payroll taxes for its employees. When hiring privately or through a registry, you become the employer and are required to pay for all of those items. Additionally, with the private hire or registry model, you would be held liable for any work-related injury that occurs on the job. This can include the cost of all medical expenses and any disability payments that might become applicable.Even if the caregiver represents himself or herself as an independent contractor, it is your responsibility to make sure this is actually the case, as oftentimes the caregiver will not meet the legal criteria as an independent contractor, in which case the tax and worker’s compensation responsibilities will be yours.
  • Supervision: Unmonitored, unsupervised care means a greater chance that care providers can exert undue influence on a frail person for personal financial gain, or the possibility of emotional or physical abuse. A professional agency will provide routine supervision and care monitoring.

To help determine if a company is a registry or a professional agency, be sure to ask the company if their caregivers are employed by the company, if they cover worker’s compensation for their caregivers and if they monitor and supervise their caregivers.

Rest assured: hiring a caregiver for your senior loved one through At Home Independent Living takes the stress and guesswork out of the equation. All of our companions are fully trained, insured, bonded, reference- and background-checked, and supervised, and are employees of our agency – so taxes and worker’s compensation are OUR responsibility – never yours. To learn more about how we can help your elderly loved one remain safe and independent at home, download our free brochure, or call us at 315-579-4663.