Whether you're a busy executive or require help with daily tasks, explore the financial considerations to hiring a personal assistant.
People with spinal-cord injury eventually need personal assistance with the basic activities of daily living. While some of this care is provided for free by family members, a portion of the help is from paid assistance. The cost varies dramatically, depending on where you live and the severity of your injury.
If you plan to hire a personal assistant (PA), here are a few financial considerations to keep in mind:
• Think of hiring and managing a PA as if you are running your own business. You must recruit applicants, interview them, check their references, train and pay them, review their performance, and keep required financial records.
• Look for help in paying for a PA. Medicare, state programs, private insurance, and Workers’ Compensation are possible sources.
• Consider noncash options. You might offer room and board with a reduced salary or exchange services. (However, the noncash compensation may be taxable. Check with your tax advisor.)
• Understand your record-keeping and tax responsibilities. If you receive funds with which to pay a PA, find out what procedures the agency requires you to follow and what payment records you must keep. If the agency pays the PA directly, you will not be responsible for payroll taxes. However, if you pay the assistant from your own funds, you must follow the law regarding minimum-wage guidelines and taxes. You may qualify for tax deductions and credits for PA services if you can prove these services are the equivalent of nursing care.
Consult your accountant or tax advisor to help you set up a system for paying your assistant, keeping necessary records, and paying any required taxes.