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Paid Aides—An Agency’s or Your Own?

Alfred H. “Skip” DeGraff

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Choice of duties Due primarily to insurance liability, agencies have some strict limitations on the tasks that each type of staff can perform. In contrast, your own PAs routinely provide any assistance you request, and to which they agree.
Authority to replace undesirable aides If you use agency aides, you usually must accept whom they assign you. Your reason to request a replacement must be pretty serious, because most agencies are consistently short staffed. In contrast, if you sign your PA’s paychecks, you have unquestioned authority about who works for you.

Paying salaries, maintaining records and paying taxes When using agency aides, the agency crunches the numbers, keeps the records, and pays the salaries and taxes. However, when employing your own PAs, a local CPA can set up your bookkeeping system and then file the government employment documents on schedule.

The choice between using agency aides and personal PAs is based on your ability, willingness, funding and desire to be in maximum control of your own lifestyle. For many of us, agencies are essential. For others, we insist on controlling the quality of the help we receive by first controlling the quality of our help providers—and that means routinely employing our own PAs.


Alfred H. “Skip” DeGraff is a spinal cord injured quadriplegic who has used a motorized wheelchair while hiring and managing his own PAs for over 30 years. He is also the author of the 512-page book, Caregivers and Personal Assistants: How to Find, Hire and Manage the People Who Help You (Or Your Loved One!). This unique resource was reviewed an issue of Today’s Caregiver, and copies are available from us.

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