Caregivers for Medicaid recipients often live in poverty, study finds

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Caregivers for low-income seniors and the disabled often live in poverty or near-poverty themselves, according to a new study.

In "Hidden in Plain Sight: California's Paid Medi-Cal Caregivers Are Vulnerable," UCLA researchers say that about 290,000 paid caregivers in California provide services to adults on Medi-Cal, the state Medicaid program for adults with long-term illnesses or disabilities. These caregivers earn an average of less than $11 per hour and have monthly incomes of about $1,970, which is below 200% of the federal poverty level.

Medi-Cal caregivers also had food insecurity rates that were twice as high as low-income unpaid caregivers. Food insecurity refers to cutting back on meal sizes or skipping meals.

"Paid caregivers do a lot but get paid very little," lead author and Ph.D. candidate Geoffrey Hoffman said. “They play a critical and complex role caring for our aging or disabled parents, grandparents, friends and neighbors yet can earn only a little more than minimum wage."

Click here to read the full report.