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Old 12-09-2014, 08:07 PM   #41
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My mother sent me a text today asking for more money to pay for medication. She's on Medicaid so I was confused as to why medication is not covered. The insulin pen mfg she uses offers free/low cost units to the needy but not to people on Medicaid - e.g. Medicaid must pay for it.

I spent several hours today acting as Social Worker trying to figure out her Medicaid (my brother has no clue) as my mother says drugs aren't covered. Of course she doesn't have any plan information on-hand.

Turns our she doesn't qualify for regular Medicaid due to her income however she has "Medically Needy" cost sharing coverage. Each month Florida Medicaid will kick in IF she has medical costs of $750. How someone who lives on $920 in SS can afford $750 I don't know.

An many here know Florida didn't expand their Medicaid eligibility under the ACA so my mother earns too much for FL Medicaid but too little to qualify for a federal subsidy in the healthcare.gov exchange.

I think I've figured out a way for her to qualify for the federal subsidy and am curious if my idea is within the bounds of the tax code.

From what I read today a person in Florida who earns 100% of the federal poverty limit could qualify for a tax subsidy on an exchange-based plan. My mother receives $11K/yr in SS and the applicable poverty limit (from healthcare.gov) is $11.7K/yr. IF my mother could increase her earnings by $700 she'd hit the mark and under the MAGI formula. To qualify she could earn the money through small business income.

Assuming she could earn the money does anyone see any problem with qualifying in this manner?

She turns 65 in March 2015 so the private insurance would just need to bridge a 3 month gap to Medicare.

Based on feedback here, and also what my partner advises, I'm going to do my best to contribute by paying towards her health insurance cost/mo and drug copays and avoid writing blank checks. Sure money is fungible but at least I can say she has the basics.
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Old 12-09-2014, 08:41 PM   #42
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I would help my parents regardless, just like parents would not throw away their born disabled children.


It it were me, I would find opportunities to re-connect with my mother and help her financially and emotionally. In your case, I would pay some bills for her, get her some treatments. You may have many friends, you only have one mother.
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Old 12-09-2014, 08:43 PM   #43
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My mother sent me a text today asking for more money to pay for medication.

The first of many such requests to come, no doubt.

Based on feedback here, and also what my partner advises, I'm going to do my best to contribute by paying towards her health insurance cost/mo and drug copays and avoid writing blank checks. Sure money is fungible but at least I can say she has the basics.

IMHO this is a very wise and compassionate middle ground. I am glad to hear that you and your partner are protecting your own financial security in this way.
As far as the complexities of the ACA, someone far more knowledgeable than myself will be along shortly to address that question, I'm sure.

I wish you and your partner continued good luck as you navigate both your mother's demands and the ACA regulations.
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Old 12-09-2014, 08:58 PM   #44
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I would help my parents regardless, just like parents would not throw away their born disabled children.


It it were me, I would find opportunities to re-connect with my mother and help her financially and emotionally. In your case, I would pay some bills for her, get her some treatments. You may have many friends, you only have one mother.
I'm sure this is a great comfort to your mother. When it comes time for you to put that plan into action in your life you can feel very comfortable with that choice.

The OP is dealing with his own unique family situation, and he will find a solution that works for his particular family - not necessarily what would apply to your family or my family or anyone else's family.
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Old 12-09-2014, 09:01 PM   #45
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I wish I had had this board as a sounding board and educational tool a few years ago.

Both my parents are gone now. My dad in 1997, and I have a few regrets because I wasn't as educated about elder care issues; my mom in 2012, no regrets because "I knew better, so I did better."

Do your best in the time frame you have, work with your partner, make adjustments along the way as needed, and make it to where you can face yourself in the mirror.

Good luck to you.
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Old 12-10-2014, 06:42 PM   #46
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Sorry to hear about your mother (less so about your brother). As others have pointed out, any help you give will not only enable your mother's poor decisions, but also your brother's apparent parasitic behavior. This may sound callous, but I would advise keeping your distance. .
I have to agree with Jay here. I have been through a very similar situation with some of my family members (and still going through it with my sister), and I can tell you that there is nothing I could have done to help them, when they wouldn't help themselves. It does sound callous, but it's very true. You can pay some of their bills if it makes you feel better, but don't expect it to change the behavior, and it may actually make things worse in the long run.
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Old 12-10-2014, 10:05 PM   #47
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Can your brother qualify for financial aid for school - maybe some kind of short term job training program at a community college?
While well meaning, this is a terrible idea. An unmotivated neer-do-well who has also proven record of failed attempts at schooling and hasn't enough get up and go to visit a store to buy paint, isn't going to benefit from a program like this. Sitting passively in a classroom (if he even goes) does not automatically qualify you for a job, nor find you a job. It may however saddle you with student debt which can never be discharged and will make your financial situation even worse. I've seen reports of people who used "student loans" as a source of cash for living expenses and their stories do not end well.
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Old 12-10-2014, 10:11 PM   #48
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While well meaning, this is a terrible idea. An unmotivated neer-do-well who has also proven record of failed attempts at schooling and hasn't enough get up and go to visit a store to buy paint, isn't going to benefit from a program like this. Sitting passively in a classroom (if he even goes) does not automatically qualify you for a job, nor find you a job. It may however saddle you with student debt which can never be discharged and will make your financial situation even worse. I've seen reports of people who used "student loans" as a source of cash for living expenses and their stories do not end well.
Financial aid can mean grants, not necessarily loans. I get it that the brother would not go through with it, but the idea is to offer him a roadmap out of poverty. Whether he chooses to follow it or not is up to him, but then freqflyer does not need to feel guilty for having done nothing to even try to help. A friend of a friend just got a full scholarship for college at age 60+.
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Old 12-10-2014, 10:28 PM   #49
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I get it that the brother would not go through with it, but the idea is to offer him a roadmap out of poverty. Whether he chooses to follow it or not is up to him, but then freqflyer does not need to feel guilty for having done nothing to even try to help. A friend of a friend just got a full scholarship for college at age 60+.
I've known people who were motivated and did well in school as older students. I don't see any evidence that this brother will be that kind of person, and every reason to think he would not be:

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He took some college classes and the GF supported them both (she instigated the move). After about 2 years she called it off so he, having no place to go and no real ties out west, went to our mother's to get himself sorted.
Pushing someone to go back to school and "better" themselves to get a good job is just unrealistic in this case from what we know. Feeling compassion and desire to help are wonderful, but assuaging guilt by "doing something" that could end up making the situation worse isn't all that helpful. Better to offer counseling, be present, try a little tough love, call regularly, offer job placement help, sort out the medical insurance paperwork mess, research assistance programs, or any of countless other possibly useful things. Getting brother into a classroom, unless HE initiates it, isn't likely to help.
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Old 12-10-2014, 11:20 PM   #50
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So sorry to hear about your situation. If you are working, I recommend contacting your company's employee assistance plan. The plan is one of your employee benefits and is almost always administered by an outside organization that specializes in assisting emloyees with life event issues. It's important to know that when you contact them all information is completely confidential and your company will never receive any information regarding your contact. The EAP will have all sorts of referrals regarding elder care and the other issues you mentioned. Many of these referrals are either free or at a very reduced rate.

I don't recommend handling this situation alone, as it is complex, and has many emotional, financial, and physical issues. As others have stated, while it's commendable that you want to provide support, it's extremely important not to be pulled into a co-dependant situation. Guilt is a totally useless emotion.

I suggest being very diligent about caring for yourself first in all aspects: emotionally, financially, psychologically. When flying, we are always advised to put on our own oxygen masks before helping those around us. You can't help anyone if their problems become yours, particularly when those problems were created and chosen by them years ago. Our parents are our fundamental relationships, and they can get damn messy--consciously and unconsciously--even without substance issues.

Best of luck to you!
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Old 12-11-2014, 07:20 AM   #51
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So sorry to hear about your situation. If you are working, I recommend contacting your company's employee assistance plan. The plan is one of your employee benefits and is almost always administered by an outside organization that specializes in assisting emloyees with life event issues. It's important to know that when you contact them all information is completely confidential and your company will never receive any information regarding your contact. The EAP will have all sorts of referrals regarding elder care and the other issues you mentioned. Many of these referrals are either free or at a very reduced rate.

I don't recommend handling this situation alone, as it is complex, and has many emotional, financial, and physical issues. As others have stated, while it's commendable that you want to provide support, it's extremely important not to be pulled into a co-dependant situation. Guilt is a totally useless emotion.

I suggest being very diligent about caring for yourself first in all aspects: emotionally, financially, psychologically. When flying, we are always advised to put on our own oxygen masks before helping those around us. You can't help anyone if their problems become yours, particularly when those problems were created and chosen by them years ago. Our parents are our fundamental relationships, and they can get damn messy--consciously and unconsciously--even without substance issues.

Best of luck to you!
We do have an EAP and I didn't even think of it. Thanks for the suggestion.
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Old 02-09-2015, 10:56 AM   #52
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A follow-up in case anyone was interested in how things came/are coming out.

POORLY.

Over the past few months, since my mother's stroke, I've contributed a few thousand dollars. In December and January the requests were for weird things that I felt didn't take priority e.g. 1) repair the satellite dish connection which broke in a storm 2) add my brother to my mother's phone plan. I'd always suspected that my mother was running so short of funds because she was supporting my older brother who continues to be unemployed. With each contribution I'd close with a note that said "remember mom your primary responsability is to yourself and you can't affort to support [my brother].

I inquired into her monthly budget to see how much she might run short each month and I learned that she was paying $120 a month on cable TV and $130 for phone and internet. If someone can't afford their food and medicine it seems crazy to me that one would spend 25% of their budget on "wants" and that's not even factoring in cigarretes.

Isn't internet, a prepaid phone and a netflix subscription sufficient?

My attempts to rationalize my mother's budget and refusal to support my brother (he's been living off our mother for 7 months now) went over like a ton of bricks.

My sister and I agreed to cover her home insurance to prevent the mortgage company taking it over and charging excessive fees or threatening foreclosure. Before the checks went out however my mother posted very bizzare and offensive things on Facebook towards myself and my sister. I suspect my mother got angry and was drinking. My sister got the sharper end of the barbs so she "unfriended" my mother and they are no longer speaking.

I guess the thread title says it all really - someone who doesn't want to help themselves.

At this point I think it's better to not get further involved so I'm staying away. Sad really but it is what it is.
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Old 02-09-2015, 01:17 PM   #53
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A follow-up in case anyone was interested in how things came/are coming out.

POORLY.
....
Thank you for taking the time to update us.

I do wish things would have turned out better for you. I, for one, do understand and support the decision you have made at this point for whatever that is worth.

I hope that neither you nor your sister look back with regrets years from now; but, I also have not advice for preventing that. Good luck.
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Old 02-09-2015, 02:57 PM   #54
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FreqFlyer...You did your best and that's all you can do. It's time to let it go. I know it hurts and will for quite a while. I have had a similar experience. But you have to get on with your own life and not be dragged down any more. Life is too short.
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Old 02-09-2015, 03:25 PM   #55
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I must say, even with your update, I'm afraid I see things differently. I experienced all the same things you have with my mother (an alcoholic and abusive behavior to me) from the time I was a child up until most recently. She will be 95 years old this month and is now in a nursing home.

I had a sister who was the leach, and money I gave my mother, ended up in the pocket of my sister all too often. Being an alcoholic for so many years is a very difficult addiction to beat. Especially if they are a mean drunk, as they often attack the people who are trying to help them.

I would not totally abandon her. Especially before she is able to secure more manageable health insurance. I would suggest your sister and you pay for her home insurance and real estate taxes, so she will not lose her home and any medical need she has until she can obtain medicare, and then any other medical costs she may have that medicare does not cover.

I would tell her and your brother that you are willing to do this only if he gets himself a job, even if it is part time for $150 a week to contribute to the household and pay the cable and food bill. Irregardless if this happens, I would still assume the insurance, taxes and medical co-pays etc. You will most likely need to research available policies in her area, and select the best coverage plan you can find for her, as it sounds like neither her or your brother have the ability to do so. Forget about gratitude. You may never get it.

Your brother was undoubtedly a help for your mother during a time she needed the most help, and you can not discount that. If she is in very poor health, she will most likely continue to need help as she ages. At some point she will need to go into a nursing home, and you will be able to get her regular medicaid, but if there is no surviving spouse, they will take the house.

Another option for you. Florida has what is called a Diversion Program, where they will contribute a portion of money (anywhere from $1000 to $1300 a month towards the cost of an assisted living facility. Also, if she was married to a Veteran for 10 years or more who did not re-marry or does not have another living spouse, she could also receive another $1000 a month towards the assisted living home. The facility will take her social security and the Diversion payment will go directly to the facility.

When my mother could no longer care for herself (and was too abusive to live with) my sister and I got her qualified for regular medicaid and the diversion program. It paid for a less expensive but acceptable place we found, but the monthly rent was about $400 a month short, which my sister and I split and paid each month. We also paid $50 a month into a petty cash account for her each month, and took care of purchasing any other needs she might have (clothing, etc.) She did not own a house, so in your case she would need to sell the house.

They tell you she can not have any funds, but that is not actually true. If both your sister and you split the proceeds of the house between you and set up a care account for your mother, to be used only for the care of your mother, it will pass the mustard. The catch is, both you and your sister will have to pay taxes on the money as if it were income you received. However, in your case this would still be cheaper for you than having to pay out of pocket every month your mother's short fall.

Just some things for you to consider.
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Old 02-09-2015, 04:36 PM   #56
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FreqFlyer...You did your best and that's all you can do. It's time to let it go. I know it hurts and will for quite a while. I have had a similar experience. But you have to get on with your own life and not be dragged down any more. Life is too short.
+1.

Your mom and brother will find a way to live their lives without your financial support. People do.
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Old 02-09-2015, 05:23 PM   #57
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Sorry for your situation. My parents were both alcoholics. I have found clarity and serenity through Al-Anon. One thing I learned was to take care of myself first. My parents did not want to take care of themselves nor was any help appreciated. i had children and myself to protect.
I respect your decision, it is one I would have made. God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
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Old 02-09-2015, 05:32 PM   #58
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FreqFlyer...You did your best and that's all you can do. It's time to let it go. I know it hurts and will for quite a while. I have had a similar experience. But you have to get on with your own life and not be dragged down any more. Life is too short.
+1. Good for you for trying, FreqFlyer. You gave it your best shot. You shouldn't have to suffer an endless amount of emotional and financial abuse with no appreciation in return.

If you want to do good deeds, there are many charities in the world who would appreciate your support. Good deeds needn't be based solely on DNA linkage.
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Old 02-09-2015, 06:37 PM   #59
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FreqFlyer...You did your best and that's all you can do. It's time to let it go. I know it hurts and will for quite a while. I have had a similar experience. But you have to get on with your own life and not be dragged down any more. Life is too short.
+100

FreqFlyer,

You cannot help people who won't help themselves. I had the same experience, and had to save myself. I agree that keeping your distance, focusing on your healthy relationship with your partner, and protecting your financial future are of paramount importance. You have nothing to feel guilty about - you gave it your best shot.
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Old 02-09-2015, 11:03 PM   #60
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FreqFlyer,
You are doing the right thing, and don't feel guilty. I fear I will be in the same position with my mother someday. Although she is not an alcoholic, she is a compulsive and destructive liar, verbally abusive, and very mildly physically abusive. When she would fly off the handle when I was younger, she would tell me she wished I was never born and that she would have had an abortion if it were legal (turns out it was legal at that point). I was very depressed and borderline suicidal many times growing up. Since I got away from her as an adult, my whole life has changed for the better. I don't ever want to be "close" to my mother again. My grandmother and mother don't talk anymore because my mother cussed out my grandmother a couple years ago, calling her lots of bad things. When my mother showed up to my grandfather's funeral, we were all a bit worried what my mom might do verbally or even physically. Luckily, she didn't try to fight with my grandmother, but she did walk up to my father (who is still friends with his ex-inlaws), and told him she could kick his ass. My mother never asks about my grandmother other than cussing up a storm and saying over and over, I bet she cut me out of the will. My mother only cares about the money and controlling other people.

I am not quite sure how I will be able to help this crazy woman out someday. I do not want to be a part of her reality as I would become horribly depressed just like I was growing up. My mother and stepfather constantly spend more money than they have, and their health is not top priority. High end cable packages, cell phones, casino buffets, a new car every 4 years, and gambling are their priorities. They are both severely, morbidly overweight (their doctors fault of course). Yes, I fear I will be in the same position you are in in just a couple years. My mother is only 18 years older than I, so she is still 8+ years away from Medicare.

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