Lifespan Respite
Technical Assistance Center

Voucher Programs and Background Checks

  • 07 Feb 2013 1:45 PM
    Reply # 1201836 on 1193947
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    From Susan Robinson

    SC Respite Coalition


    We have circumvented that by not actually being the employer. For private vouchers we are sending this with our voucher authorizations (attached and see below.) As for agreements with any organizations to provide services, we are asking for their tax ID and proof that they are established, licensed businesses. However, in S.C. the in-home provided are not regulated.  


    I have recently learned, however, that one of our Family Caregiver Support Programs actually employs and pays (contractually and w/o benefits, I believe) the private providers they allow families use for respite.  It is only in one of our 10 regions, but I'll ask how they are doing it and what risk management measures and/or insurance coverage they have in place. 



    Hiring workers for in-home care on your own usually costs less than using an agency due to their costs for doing business.  But, there are some things to think about if you are the actual employer.  You will need a back-up plan in case the worker gets sick. You will have to find, interview and screen them, train them, and hire and fire, if necessary.  You will have to negotiate their hourly pay.    You can find more information about this at

    You will need to get the INS-9 form completed confirming the worker’s citizenship status, and are encouraged to file a W-2 at the end of the year stating how much you paid.  If you pay the person $600 or more in a year, you must register with the IRS as an employer.  Some IRS web resource articles that may help you:


                                 •  ,,id=206004,00.html



    ·          Qualified family members (who live outside the Care Receiver’s Home)

    ·          Friends, neighbors may be interested or know someone who is

    ·          Local churches and pastors may be good sources.

    ·          Local senior center or nearby technical or other college may post information about qualified people.

    · (S.C. Lt. Governor’s website) Personal Care worker list by county

    ·  - you will have to pay the monthly fee if you want the contact information.


    ·          Ask for references (former employers and clients, not just their friends or church members) and call them.

    ·          Verify their credentials (see the current date on their license, if they say they are licensed)

    ·          Ask for their SLED (SC Law Enforcement Department screening) or ask them to get one if it’s old.

    ·          If they have lived in another state, ask them for a current law enforcement paper from there too.

    ·          Meet them face to face, ask specific questions about their experience and be clear about the job duties.

    ·          Introduce them to your loved one and see how they get along.

    TRAINING:   take time to show them how to care for your loved one.  Helpful forms might be some of the pages of the “What You Need to Know About Me” or the Family Connection notebooks at


    ·          Agree on rate of pay per hour or by the job.   Agree on the schedule.

    ·          Have an understanding that you will not withhold taxes or social security (unless you have paid over $600 and have become an IRS employer) and that there is no workman’s or unemployment compensation.

    ·          Let them know if you plan to file a W-2 form for them.

  • 01 Feb 2013 10:58 AM
    Reply # 1195660 on 1193947

    Note: When the following response refers to the Lifespan Respite Grant, she is referring to a state funded program in Texas to support direct services  - not the federal grant.


    Bexar Area Agency on Aging – San Antonio, TX implemented the use of Respite and Homemaker Voucher since 2004 for its title IIIE program and for Title IIIB. We use the Homemaker voucher only, since we received the Lifespan Respite Grant, we are also encouraging family caregivers the use the Respite voucher program.

    It is a beneficial program due to the fact that it gives the family caregiver and the recipient the option of service flexibility and most likely a provider that they know and trust.  Now the family caregiver  is the employer so the onus of responsibility does fall on them, when selecting a provider.

    We do not run background checks, 100% of the time the family caregiver has had a relationship or experience with the provider they have selected.

    If you need additional information, feel free to contact me.

    Nellie J. Garay

    Caregiver Support Specialist

    Alamo Caregiver Empowerment

    Bexar Area Agency on Aging

  • 01 Feb 2013 10:39 AM
    Reply # 1195656 on 1193947
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Elizabeth’s answer is accurate from the coalition’s perspective, but not from the State of Arizona.  We are in the middle of confirming how Arizona’s statutory requirement for fingerprinting on workers providing services to vulnerable individuals will directly impact how we roll out our voucher program. 


    David Besst

    DES, AZ Division of Aging & Adult Services

  • 01 Feb 2013 10:37 AM
    Reply # 1195654 on 1193947
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    At the Arizona Caregiver Coalition - We encourage any agency who is providing direct services to vulnerable populations to screen and complete background checks on all volunteers.  If the volunteer has no direct contact then we do not require background checks however,  we do screen for criminal activities by an notarized sworn/signed affidavit.  In addition, we screen our volunteers by ask if they have completed a  background clearance card from the state and we ask to make a copy of this fingerprint clearance card. Documenting everything.  We would also agree with the statement “It is the family who is the employer and the ones ultimately responsible and the responsibly would fall on them.”    

    Elizabeth Harris

    Respite Project Coordinator

  • 01 Feb 2013 10:36 AM
    Reply # 1195652 on 1193947
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We don’t have voucher respite but EVERYONE in Georgia that works with children have to have background checks…including church leaders, scout volunteers, rec coaches, etc.


    Beth English

    Executive Director

    Easter Seals Southern Georgia, Inc.

  • 31 Jan 2013 2:44 PM
    Reply # 1194821 on 1193947
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Oklahoma does not refer people to respite providers so no, we don’t utilize background checks.  The caregiver is responsible to find their own respite provider (friend, family member who doesn’t live in the home with the care receiver, church member, neighbor or whomever they choose).  The Lifespan Respite Grant only funds the vouchers, as long as the caregiver meets eligibility requirements. After the service is provided and the caregiver and respite provider sign the voucher that service was provided for the number of hours and dollar amount agreed upon, the voucher is sent in to and paid by our Department. 

    Eleanor Kurtz

    OK Department of Human Svcs

  • 31 Jan 2013 11:57 AM
    Reply # 1194602 on 1193947
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Although NH Lifespan Respite Grant is not offering Vouchers, we do reimburse the respite providers for the time spent in providing respite care to a family who has been accepted to receive up to 50 hours of respite through our Lifespan Respite Grant. In that process, we require the family to sign a "Hold Harmless Agreement"  when they apply for services.  In addition our trained respite providers have passed the registry and criminal checks prior to admission into the training program. We pay a small fee through the grant for the criminal checking. In our research to decide on a locator for our trained respite providers to be listed, we would expect the manager/owner of the locator/registry would want to have safe individuals providing care and would continue with the registry and criminal check requirement.


    Sharon Kaiser, RN, BS

    Early Childhood Systems Program Specialist Special Medical Services Title V CSHCN Thayer Building

  • 31 Jan 2013 11:55 AM
    Reply # 1194599 on 1193947
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Nevada does not require background checks through our voucher program.  We do give information to voucher recipients of the process if they were to have a personal caregiver rather than going to a agency.  Provider agencies may have a company or state or federal requirement to do so.  Personal Care Agencies in Nevada are subject to the requirement and the agency is responsible for the cost. 


    Vicki Kemp

    Social Services Program Specialist III

  • 30 Jan 2013 7:13 PM
    Message # 1193947
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    From:  Carol Barnett, Lifespan Respite grantee, Delaware Division of Aging and Disabilities

    Question:  For states which have implemented respite voucher programs, do you require background checks?  Why or why not?  If you do implement background checks, which ones are required and who pays for them?  How do you deal with liability issues?

    Last modified: 30 Jan 2013 7:19 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Lifespan Respite

Technical Assistance and Resource Center

ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center

(703) 256-2084 |

This project is supported, in part by grant number 90LT0001, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.


The ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center is a program of Families and Communities Rising |4220 NC Hwy 55, Suite 330, Durham, NC 27713 |



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