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Financial Help

My 93 yer old mother has lived with my husband and i for the last 12 years (since her stroke).  We had a part time in home caregiver while I was at work.  Recently we had to move her to an assisted living home. It is a lovely home and I feel very comfortable with her care.  It doesn't look like she will be able to come home.

 

My question is: how do we afford this? Her savings will be gone within the next few months. Then it will be up to me, an only child.  Where can I get financial help?  Should I take out a mortgage on my house (plenty of equity). How much should I borrow? Should I be claiming her as a dependant on my income tax? I dont know where to start.

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@rc5209 The costs can be overwhelming for sure. I'd urge you to meet with a financial advisor/planner. It won't do anyone any good for you to mortgage your own retirement away in caring for your mother. An advisor will help you figure out how to get the care your mother needs but also protect your financial assets. 

 

Also check the response I just posted about getting paid to be a caregiver for your loved ones in case that's helpful to you! (I tagged you).

 

Most assisted living facilities do not accept Medicaid - in some states there may be some that do though so if you go the route of getting her qualified for Medicaid, be sure to find out. Medicaid pays for nursing home care but generally not assisted living. Other options are to move her back home with you and if she qualifies for Medicaid you might get some paid caregivers to help with her care. Was she or your father a Veteran? If so, be sure to check with the VA to see if there are any supports she is eligible for. You can go to VA Caregiver Support or call their Support Line at 855-260-3274 and explain your situation and ask about available supports and how to get them. 

 

There is more info about finances and caregiving in the AARP Caregiving site at www.AARP.org/caregiving and you can also go directly to the financial and legal section

 

Take care,

Amy Goyer, AARP Family & Caregiving Expert

Author, Juggling Life, Work and Caregiving

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I need information to how I can get paid to be my son's caretaker who has become totally disabled due to Multiple Sclerosis? I can no longer go to work due to his condition but need to be paid in order to survive. 

AARP Expert

Hi Elena:  I'm sorry to hear about your son's deteriorating condition.  He is so fortunate to have you!  

 

Piggybacking on Jane's comment:  much of what is available to you is contingent on your state of residence.  Many have programs that allow some payment to family member caregivers.  Some do not.  

 

Here is an article from the AARP website that provides a good overview of possible available options for payment:  https://www.aarp.org/caregiving/financial-legal/info-2017/you-can-get-paid-as-a-family-caregiver.htm...

 

 

Also, this is where an elder law attorney may be life-changing for you both (I understand your son may not be considered a senior, but that's what we call attorneys who can help with these issues).  I know it's another expense when times may be tight, but they will be able to explain the available options and protections you have.  

 

If you are employed presently, there may be legal protections to help you maintain your employment or your employer may offer alternative work arrangements or benefits (like respite care) that will allow you to keep working while remaining your son's primary caregiver.  

 

Tell us more and know that we are wishing you the best of luck.

Amanda Singleton
All posts are intended to convey general information only and not to provide legal advice or opinions. The posting and viewing of the information in this community should not be construed as, and should not be relied upon for, legal or tax advice in any particular circumstance or fact situation. The information presented may not reflect the most current legal developments. An attorney should be contacted for advice on specific legal issues. Nothing written in this community is intended to create an attorney‑client relationship. An attorney-client relationship may only be established through direct attorney‑to‑client communication that is confirmed by the execution of an engagement agreement.
AARP Expert

Hi Elena,

Money is complicated in the 'long term care' world. here are some steps to take. There are other folks who know more than i do, and you will get more advice.

 

If your son has Medicaid, then it is possible for you to be paid for caring for him, and its your local Medicaid office that can tell you what is possible in your state. It varies quite a bit by where you live.

 

is it possible to see if you can get enough care for him at home, paid by Medicaid, for you to work some? You will be the caregiver most of the time, but it might be good for your self esteem and the household money if you worked outside the home. 

 

Have you talked to the Multiple Sclerosis Society to get advice? 

 

That's a very basic beginning. Check into this stuff and then write some more?

 

Jane

Newbie

I have become the primary caregiver for my mother who was recently diagnosed with Stage Four Cancer. I have cut my work hours drastically and this is affecting my household. Is it possible to receive some type of stipend for becoming her caregiver. I realize that it is my mother and probably what I am supposed to do but my household is affected and we could use some financial help. Any advice is appreciated.

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I'm curious as to receiving more funds for In Home Support Services. At the present time, I earn enough to pay for rent and untilities. However, I make to much to qualify for State aid or afford medical coverage. I work for the County with a union that only pays for 10% of the employees medical premiums. Is there any other funding available to assist caregivers? If I have to buy my own medical insurance, I couldn't afford my rent or utilities. Not sure what to do. Getting stressed out over financial burden.

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@retcsgt wrote:

I'm curious as to receiving more funds for In Home Support Services. At the present time, I earn enough to pay for rent and untilities. However, I make to much to qualify for State aid or afford medical coverage. I work for the County with a union that only pays for 10% of the employees medical premiums. Is there any other funding available to assist caregivers? If I have to buy my own medical insurance, I couldn't afford my rent or utilities. Not sure what to do. Getting stressed out over financial burden.


Hi there.

Forgive me, but I don't understand. Are you the caregiver? For whom? It certainly sounds like you are low income. How old are you? You might be eligible for SNAP (Food Stamps). If you're over 60, you can double check your eligibility for various programs by meeting with someone at the area agency on aging: find that by going to www.eldercare.gov.  Could you help me understand how In Home Support relates to your problem?

 

Jane

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I’m taking care of both parents. Their combined income does not allow them to qualify for Medicaid. I’m the only one caring for them in a rented apartment.

Please help I’m physically exhausted most of the time.

 

Sincerely

Shirley

AARP Expert

@sswain225 I can imagine how exhausted you are - I've cared for both parents at the same time too. I know you definitely need some help!

 

I'd suggest you go to your local area agency on aging and/or aging (AAA) and disability resource center (ADRC). You can find it at www.eldercare.acl.gov and put in your zip code or city/state. Call them and explain that you are caring for your parents and you need a) caregiver support (respite care - care for your parents so you can take a break, caregiver support group etc.) and b) you need help finding services to help you care for your parents. Tell them that you've tried to get Medicaid for your parents but they haven't qualified. Ask about anything you might be able to do the help them qualify (spend down etc.) and/or if there are any services they might be able to get on a sliding feel scale. 

 

You might also consider adult day services (the AAA or ADRC should be able to give you a list of them in your area if they are available). The cost for a day at an adult day services center is generally much less than paying for care at home...and it would give you a break if one or both of them went to a center for awhile - they could go a few times a week or even 5 days a week. I used to work in adult day services and we did offer a sliding fee scale - people paid what they could afford to pay. 

 

One more thought - are either of your parents Veterans? If so you can contact the VA Veterans Caregiver Support at www.caregiver.va.gov to ask about any services, home-based care etc. they may be eligible for. 

 

Please let us know what you found out and how else we can help! 

 

Take care,

Amy Goyer, AARP Family & Caregiving Expert

Author, Juggling Life, Work and Caregiving and

Color Your Way Content When Caring for Loved Ones

 

Newbie

Hello,

I'm going to try this, however I'm not real sure I'll be able to locate your response. I accidently stumbled on this page.  Anyway, would you have any ideas on how I can get preferably free if not cheap refresher in home budgeting.  I was raised well and taught how to budget.  However, over the years I'm not able to keep my checkbook balanced.  If debits and checks cleared immediately it would help me.  It doesn't help I have very bad attention deficit disorder which makes me forget easy.   In this example, if debits and checks don't clear immediately I forget to follow up efficiently which generally ends up in bank fees for them transferring money needed.   I also am good at paying bills, however I keep intending to pay Bill's frequently passing the due dates/grace periods.  You guessed it I'm hit with late fees almost non-stop.  Then certain things require me to have funds automatically deducted from my account for payments.  This I often forget about spending the money meant fir those Bill's.  I seemed to have lost total control of my finances and not being able to keep checkbook balanced often don't help me at all.  Again, paying my Bill's is simply putting off.  In my ADHD mind I'm saying daily I need to pay Alliant, Charter, or U.S. Cellular.  However because of the severity of my disorder I'm very easily distracted frequently leading to late fees.  Charter $10.00 and U.S. Cellular $5.00 each month.  PLEASE HELP ME!   Thanks in advance for your time. 

Signed,

Frustrated 

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@DennisG695405 I can imagine how stressful this is for you! And the extra costs from late fees etc. really add up fast. 

 

Have you thought about setting up your bill payments on auto-pay - either through the companies you are paying or through your own bank? That can eliminate late fees. But you’ll need to ensure enough money is in your account every month. 

 

Here in the AARP Online Community, we have a forum on Budget and Savings. AARP also has some great online resources on budgeting here: online Budget Calculator and articles on Living on a Budget.

 

Your county Cooperative Extension service generally offers free classes to help with financial management (they do more than farming and gardening and have locations in urban areas too). Contact your state’s Cooperative Extension service to ask about local classes. And you can take their online courses on Personal Finance too!

 

There are organizations like credit.org that offer free online courses too. 

 

I hope this is helpful! If you let me know the state you live in I can tell you how to find your Cooperative Extension office too! 

 

 

Newbie

Main caregiver of Mom, she does live in a Memory Care Facility, however I am the one who has always visiting, buying sundries.. etc.

I am reaching out to ask for a Mediator.

Brother has brought a lawsuit against me, for a 2 checks in 2017,2018 reimbursed myself for Aides that I paid in cash.  total of $1000.00 and change.

 

Brother has not visited, helped in her care.. nothing.  I have spent so much on Mom, without thinking twice..   Well over 3000., Lawyer wants "receipts"..    

My Bad, because, I just take care of her, and.. NO I DID NOT KEEP RECEIPTS, 

   just never thought it would come to this...

Am at Wits end.

My life is being sucked away slowly, I am happy to care and pay for Mom when she needs.

 

BUT.. atty says it will cost 4k to take him to court to fight the allegations.

 

So in the end, I could really use a mediator to help resolve this crazy to avoid any more stress or court for Mom.

And  .... ATTN CAREGIVERS..  hard as it may be. . gotta keep them reciepts.

 

 

 

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Hi @IreneG143440 :  Sorry to hear about this predicament.  Talk about a kick in the gut.  So, did I read your post correctly that your brother is suing you for $1000.00?     Most matters are best handled through mediation rather than extended litigation and I am wishing you luck in your search for a mediator.   It's such a small amount of money, I hope this can be resolved without a lot of expense.  Have you filed a response or asked the court or clerk for guidance?  For all people who've been sued,  it's critical to  be sure you address any deadlines/timelines to respond to a lawsuit.

 

And yes, I'll second you on the importance of receipts.  They are a necessity.  If you were to end up in a guardianship situation with a loved one, for example, you would have to show accountings to the court (this means an accounting with adequate supportive documents like receipts, cancelled checks, proof of payment).

 

Please keep us posted and know that I am wishing you the best of luck.

 

Amanda Singleton
All posts are intended to convey general information only and not to provide legal advice or opinions. The posting and viewing of the information in this community should not be construed as, and should not be relied upon for, legal or tax advice in any particular circumstance or fact situation. The information presented may not reflect the most current legal developments. An attorney should be contacted for advice on specific legal issues. Nothing written in this community is intended to create an attorney‑client relationship. An attorney-client relationship may only be established through direct attorney‑to‑client communication that is confirmed by the execution of an engagement agreement.
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I'm the spouse & caregiver to my disabled husband. He's 59 & gets disability from SSI. He has medicare not medicaid. He was diagnosed with MS in 1994. We've done good, I've worked full time until last year. His body use is deteriorating. He can not walk without assistance walker or wheelchair. He can't be alone but maybe an hour or two. Trying to keep up with his personal care, cleaning, & meals, etc. Just alot & we cannot afford not having my income. He perfers me taking care of him. I'm trying to find in SC, some financial assistance but haven't found anything. I'm 60. We've borrowed all we can from life insurance, I've had to use all of what I saved in 401k & IRA. I'm lost as to what I do now. Any suggestions?

AARP Expert


@c274851r wrote:

I'm the spouse & caregiver to my disabled husband. He's 59 & gets disability from SSI. He has medicare not medicaid. He was diagnosed with MS in 1994. We've done good, I've worked full time until last year. His body use is deteriorating. He can not walk without assistance walker or wheelchair. He can't be alone but maybe an hour or two. Trying to keep up with his personal care, cleaning, & meals, etc. Just alot & we cannot afford not having my income. He perfers me taking care of him. I'm trying to find in SC, some financial assistance but haven't found anything. I'm 60. We've borrowed all we can from life insurance, I've had to use all of what I saved in 401k & IRA. I'm lost as to what I do now. Any suggestions?


Hi there. It sounds like you love your husband very much, AND ALL the burden is on you. Here are some ideas.

 

Your area may have services he's eligible for. Of course he prefers you. He'll have to get acquainted with a few more caregivers if he is to honor his promise to help YOU. And maybe there are free or subsidized service for disabled in your area. He is younger than 60, when elder care services tend to start, but there should be services all the same. I've found the easiest way is to type in your zip code into www.eldercare.gov, and call the agency that pops up. Ask if they can assist your husband given his age, and if not, is there an ADRC or other agency that will. Then ask what they have, especially respite care, which is help that gives you a break.

 

Do you own your home? Do you have savings? Do you have an accountant, financial planner, or attorney? It's time to 'bite the proverbial bullet' and do some long term planning which allows for the best possible care for him while at the same time preserving your financial health for your own future. Although lawyers are not inexpensive, you will benefit from bringing all your financial information to one in order to discuss what assets can be preserved (like your house if you own it, and your car) and what he can realistically benefit from eventually, like long term care medicaid.  this is hard stuff, tedious, and really complicated, based on state and federal laws. But it really needs to be done, so that you both know what you're facing.

 

It would also be really good if you both could enlarge the caregiving circle. Do you have children? Does he have siblings? Cousins? Friends? Former coworkers? Some folks who can visit, give you a break?  Social isolation for you and him is a natural development of your situation, but it doesn't have to be. You both need social support. 

 

What do you think about all this?  Please write back. And thank you for sharing your situation

 

Jane

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If their spouse is a veteran, you can apply for spousal benefits. I went through Senior Veterans Council and they helped me for free.  If you want them to file for you, it costs $1,300 but it is so much easier and they step-by-step guide you and check that the paperwork they send is very accurate. Also way faster than if you do the filing yourself. Do it asap and when approved, they pay you retroactively in a lump sum WHILE still receiving the monthly payment of approx. $1300.00.

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What to do to get paid to be a caretaker for a friend ?

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@brianm715472wrote:

What to do to get paid to be a caretaker for a friend ?


BrianM715472:

HERE is a hepful article that might give you insight into exploring options for this. 

AARPJen
Caregiving Concierge
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@brianm715472 wrote:

What to do to get paid to be a caretaker for a friend ?


Can your friend pay you directly?

If your friend can't afford to do that, is he or she on Medicaid? If so, can he or she get aide services through Medicaid? And, if are you a CNA, certified nursing assistant, or home health aide, you can join the program as an employee and get paid that way.

 

Tell us more?

 

Jane

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without savings how can we get into assisted living? We get ss, some pension, 

 

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@RoseC611089 wrote:

without savings how can we get into assisted living? We get ss, some pension, 

 


Hi Rose! I'm sorry i missed your question! Some counties and states have subsidized buildings for elders, with food and cleaning provided. There is a lovely place in DC for example which takes only 1/3 of your income and provides all kinds of services. One client (of a geriatric care manager i worked with) made only 600 income in SS, and so paid 200. what a deal. And in a very nice area of DC (tenley circle, very posh now.)  Go meet with a social worker at your agency for aging services, found by putting your zip code in eldercare.gov and come back to tell us what you learned! 

 

'cause we are all learning all the time.

 

jane

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I am the primary caregiver of my boyfriends mothwr, ahe is 98, i am 54 I have been working my entire life and had a good career until my late husband became sick and started working part time retail. Mom was living with her daughter until last year, her daughter got burned our, she has two other daughters one retired and one qorking, no one willing to take care of mom.  She is a petite 4 ft 9 100 pounds and sweet as cam be but needs ally of atyention. I quit my job and moved into my boyfriends and became her caregiver. The family pays me, but does not equate to the income I was rwciwving. They will not put it on the books and my concern is that I have no income I can report and leaves me in a position that I can not apply for a loan , get approved for anything that requires proof of incomr. I cannot believe how selfish they are, my future is at risk because I am not paying into my own S.S., they ate saving thousands of dollars. There is a need to have more laws in place to protect caregivers. I love this woman and will not leave her to go into a nursing hone. Caregiver  going broke.

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@catherines908525 wrote:

I am the primary caregiver of my boyfriends mothwr, ahe is 98, i am 54 I have been working my entire life and had a good career until my late husband became sick and started working part time retail. Mom was living with her daughter until last year, her daughter got burned our, she has two other daughters one retired and one qorking, no one willing to take care of mom.  She is a petite 4 ft 9 100 pounds and sweet as cam be but needs ally of atyention. I quit my job and moved into my boyfriends and became her caregiver. The family pays me, but does not equate to the income I was rwciwving. They will not put it on the books and my concern is that I have no income I can report and leaves me in a position that I can not apply for a loan , get approved for anything that requires proof of incomr. I cannot believe how selfish they are, my future is at risk because I am not paying into my own S.S., they ate saving thousands of dollars. There is a need to have more laws in place to protect caregivers. I love this woman and will not leave her to go into a nursing hone. Caregiver  going broke.


Hi Catherine,

You are in a pickle, which you agreed to get into, and now you are attached to your boyfriend's mother. There are several steps you can take, but you'll need to be willing to take them. 

 

Is this boyfriend going to marry you? I ask because you'll have some protections from him if you marry, if he owns his house, has any assets that he can share with you to help (somewhat, it depends) with your own future. That's one thing. And, how does he feel about how 'the family' is treating you? Does he have a say? or does he have a bossy older sister who 's in charge?

 

This woman is lucky to have you. She also has family members involved in her care. The entire family would benefit from talking to an eldercare lawyer to see how to do at least 2 things: 

1. take the best possible care of Mrs. 98 years old and

2. take the best care of you, as a worker and caregiver.

 

It sounds like 'the family' is willing to take advantage of you without any qualms. The feedback from GailL is good, and also pretty adversarial. Do you want to try a mediator first? 

 

This is indeed a mess. You'll have to see how much your boyfriend backs you up, and how much noise you are willing to make regarding how you are paid. The family may be breaking the law. But the best path may be to have everyone sit down and talk reasonably and calmly. You can't go on like this, and they need you. Is there a way to do this in a family  meeting? If your boyfriend will back you up....

 

Tell us more?

Thanks for writing! I know many caregivers get into these situations!

 

Jane

 

 

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@catherines908525 wrote:

I am the primary caregiver of my boyfriends mothwr, ahe is 98, i am 54 I have been working my entire life and had a good career until my late husband became sick and started working part time retail. Mom was living with her daughter until last year, her daughter got burned our, she has two other daughters one retired and one qorking, no one willing to take care of mom.  She is a petite 4 ft 9 100 pounds and sweet as cam be but needs ally of atyention. I quit my job and moved into my boyfriends and became her caregiver. The family pays me, but does not equate to the income I was rwciwving. They will not put it on the books and my concern is that I have no income I can report and leaves me in a position that I can not apply for a loan , get approved for anything that requires proof of incomr. I cannot believe how selfish they are, my future is at risk because I am not paying into my own S.S., they ate saving thousands of dollars. There is a need to have more laws in place to protect caregivers. I love this woman and will not leave her to go into a nursing hone. Caregiver  going broke.


Seems YOU have put yourself in this situation by accepting this responsibility.

What would her family have done if you did not take on this responsibility?

 

You could always tell them that they are paying you in an illegal manner and report them to the IRS.  

 

You can can also tell them that you have to find a livable wage and thus they will have to make other plans.

 

You have tons of laws, rules and regulations on your side but YOU have to decide to use them just like anybody else who works for someone else.  Contact your state's dept. of labor and file a grievance against them.

 

They are using you and you are letting them do it - don't try to put this on society when you have ways to solve the problem but you have to take action to correct your own life.

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@rc5209 wrote:

My 93 yer old mother has lived with my husband and i for the last 12 years (since her stroke).  We had a part time in home caregiver while I was at work.  Recently we had to move her to an assisted living home. It is a lovely home and I feel very comfortable with her care.  It doesn't look like she will be able to come home.

 

My question is: how do we afford this? Her savings will be gone within the next few months. Then it will be up to me, an only child.  Where can I get financial help?  Should I take out a mortgage on my house (plenty of equity). How much should I borrow? Should I be claiming her as a dependant on my income tax? I dont know where to start.


Hello there. 

Long term care finances in the united states of chaos is pretty darn complicated. Here are some suggestions, and some questions to ask.

 

One is to ask if the place she's in now accepts medicaid. Most don't. in which case, i would act quickly to find a place that does. and they usually have waiting lists. I used to be a geriatric care manager in montgomery county maryland which is a fairly wealthy suburb, and there were senior housing apartments which were well managed and pretty nice. Once a senior got in there as a resident, only 1/3 of his or her income had to go to rent. a FABULOUS deal. Mostly for independent seniors though.

 

To get to know what's available in your area, run do not walk to the dept of aging as another community member suggested. Go to www.eldercare.gov and type in her zip code and that will tell you which to go to. 

 

I would not put your own retirement or financial well being at risk. Each generation needs to look out for itself. Also, the US needs to do some public policy work on how to help out families just like yours. I'm not holding my breath.

 

An elderlaw attorney is an expert on taxes, deductions, investments, medicaid applications, for both your mom and you. they are not cheap but given your future, and hers are at stake, worth the expense. 

 

A cheaper path is to try a geriatric care manager, who can answer your questions about what is covered where. How to apply. Which group homes might be an options (much cheaper. but sometimes sketchy). Etc.  www.caremanager.org. 

 

are you overwhelmed yet? i hope not... what do you think is your next step?

 

keep writing, okay? we all learn from each other....

 

jane

Newbie

We are going through the same thing with my Mom.  I brought her from Illinois to GA so she will be closer to me and I can help take care of her.  Looking for assisted living near me and they are all very nice, but very, very expensive.  Her savings will run out within a year.  We were hit hard during the economic downturn and, in our 60's, we are trying to recover and prepare for the future.  I am working two jobs that I can mostly do from home, but they require some travel.  Have her with me now, but I have to find her a place to live.  Very stressful and scary...

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Hi, I'm new to this blog, read . Did you ever figure it out? I am unfortunately in similiar right now.
Live in Virginia. No Help from any Siblings.
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Sounds like she might have to quality for Medicaid in the state where she lives if she doesn't have enough income or assets to pay for care and it doesn't sound like you can readily help her out financially.

 

If you want to go this route - sometimes the Assisted Living social worker can give you the exact place to go - or you could contact the states Dept of Aging for assistance.  They will tell you if she is eligible after her complete financial picture is known and the types of programs they offer, depending upon her needs, and what facilities accept Medicaid payments for the care of the elderly.  It might or might not be the one where she is currently residing.

 

 

 

Newbie

I noticed that the option of paying the family member to be the primary caregiver is not mentioned i recently had to deal with this issue and was heartbroken to realize that I only had so much income to pay a family member for my care does Medicare or insurance help with this sort of issue?
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