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Reply to "Mom going into nursing home, on Medicare, I need her money, disabled..."

Hi, mothershelper.

I'm sorry to hear you are in this situation. It's not easy, even if you were in good health.

First you need to get straight about Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare is the federal program. They will pay 100% for so many days, then they drop down to 80% for up to 100 days, then they stop altogether for so many months until she goes to the hospital again and stays so many days, and it starts all over again.

That 100 day window is your chance to get her on Medicaid, which is a state program that gets some funding from the feds. The rules vary by state, so I can't say specifically what to expect where you are.

Since you've heard that a disabled adult child can keep some of the parent's assets, the first thing to do is verify if it's true and how much assets you can keep. Where I live there is a 3-5 year look-back time for transfer of assets. You'll have to come up with all documents about her bank accounts, insurance, burial pre-arrangements and property of worth. The local Medicaid office or even the nursing home can give you the application with the guidelines, but you probably will need to get an elder law attorney or some other advocate to assist - the sooner the better.

That person can also probably help with your disability claim. You will need doctors who can vouch that your health conditions prevent you from holding a job. If you are seeking SSDI qualification, you will have to provide a complete work history and a list of doctors and procedures you have sought in attempts to improve your health so you can work.

Unfortunately, this all takes time to process, especially if you get any argument from anyone along the way. I don't know, though, you may be able to get a doctor to get you a letter of disability like you would file with your taxes - and that may do the trick... but I don't know.

Sorry if I haven't painted a rosy picture. You really do need to find an experienced advocate to help you through this.

My husband retired on disability (SSDI) in 2000. The paperwork took 6-8 months.

My mother had a stroke in Feb, 2005 while in rehab for something else, so we had used up that first 20 days at 100%. Due to HIPPA, her insurance wouldn't tell me the cash value of her annuity. It took until Oct, 2005 for me to complete her spend down to get her eligible for Medicaid. The family ended up with $12,000 that we had to pay the nursing home toward her bill. Thank God there were four of us to spread the cost and no one balked.

I'm the cautionary tale for what happens if you don't have both medical *and* financial POA.

Well, this wasn't very cheery, was it?? Sorry.

I did the "faith thing" though, and things have worked out in the long run. I'll be praying for you.