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I'm a newbie here, and I openly admit I have a lot to learn. I am trying to educate myself but it's overwhelming. This is more of a vent/need support post. But I hope maybe someone could point me in the right direction:


My Father in law (divorced from MIL 25 yrs ago) WAS for years a heavy drinker and self employed contractor. He lost his house about 10 years ago (sensitive topic, so I don't know the exact details, I assume it was being unpaid for) and moved in with his (then single) brother. 3 years ago he had a few minor strokes, that left him unable to continue working, and he filled and started receiving disability. But as many know, it's incredibly low income. His strokes are also what made him do a 180 in his life style; he quit smoke, drinking alcohol, and even cut his 5 cups of coffee down to one a day. In the past two years, his brother has married his longtime girlfriend and moved in with her. He's let my FIL say at his house until he decided to ultimately sell it. My FIL had applied for low income housing, but the waitlist is unpredictable. Last summer (2017) his uncle sold his house, leaving his brother to find a place to live.


Meanwhile, this past year, we were living at my parents to save for a home, so we were unable to help him. And my BIL was putting his house on the market, and looking for a home as well. So he was staying with another family member.


We begun house searching in the fall, and my husband and I knew without a doubt, his father couldn't stay where he was, and would most likely come stay with us. Dec of 2017 we made settlement on our new home, and a week later, his dad moved in.


And here is where I am upset and frustrated. I am 32, my husband 36, and we have one daughter (4) and are praying/trying for another. Right now, space wise we are fine, but I know in the future it will get tight. But we knew that getting into. I also knew it was only temporary, or at least that what I thought.


(if your still with me, reading this, at this point, thank you!!)


My FIL just told us last weekend that he's decided he wanted to stay here (in response to if he has heard anything about the low income housing). I feel guilty about this but, I'm not okay with that. I'm glad his dad is happy and comfortable here, and I know this is selfish, but I feel, he can very well live on his own (apart from his financial troubles). I'm angry that I didn't see this coming. I know we all need to have a sit down and talk. My husband and I haven't yet spoke any further to him yet, bc we're still trying to sort out what our options are. My FIL's only income is the small disability check. Which, he's become very comfortable with. At least I'm assuming so bc he's made no attempt to do anything else. Yes he's slower then he was before the strokes, but he gets around just fine. He's very self sufficient, he's actually a decent house mate, he cooks and cleans after himself. I admit, I'm very lucky, as keeps to himself a lot, and doesn't intrude. Except that he occupies the living most of the day, and I feel I can't be 100% myself with him there. But bc he has little to no money, we're not sure what we can do. I was hoping he would save this checks while he was here (we don't ask him for $ for rent or food) and when his name was call for the housing, he would take it and move on his own. But now i'm in this sticky situation where he wants to stay, I don't, and my husband is in the middle - He's not sure what else we can do, and he's okay with his dad staying, which makes me feel like the bad guy.


I just feel like we're a young family, still in the early years of parenthood. I never would of guessed that we would also be having his dad here....indefinitely. It would be one thing if his health was 100% the issue, but it's not. I would love to get my FIL some counseling and I want to be supportive, but I don't want to be enabling him either. I feel bad for thinking this, but I feel like he's made decisions that got him to this point. Yes the minor strokes were unforeseen, but getting older and having money in retirement is not a new concept. He did not prepare, and he's treating his disability as chosen retirement. That I feel, if you can not afford to take care of yourself, then you can not afford to be retired. What if we lived cross country and couldn't take him in? Many work past their 60's for whatever the reason. So he can't go back into construction, there has to be something else he can do? And sitting in my living room watching tv a majority of the day can't be it.


Being as we just bought a house, we have very little saving leftover to help him. And my BIL is still in transition with their house. And even though it's been unsaid, I don't think living with them is an option due to spacing and financials too. Is there something out there I am missing? I feel like now that he openly declared wanting to stay, that anything opposite would come off like kicking him out. Help, am I stuck?

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SSI (not same as Social Security) pays additional amount to anyone who is considered disabled, even if they are not yet 62. But it comes down to how much your father is already receiving, I think, as it's my understanding that SSI is only paying to get a person up to the minimum of $700 per month. But with that amount and receiving HUD housing, SNAP, and all the other things, it's doable that FIL can live on his own just fine. I've told my father a few times, in some amazement, that he's doing better at his age to be poor than if he had some money that he would quickly be burning through with all the medical care he needs, housing, etc. There are many programs for poor people in the U.S. that are set by federal gov't and even more depending on your local area's programs for low-income. It would be worthwhile to inquire at your local Health & Human Services Dept office about what all is available to FIL.

And truly sorry that I asked questions already answered. I'm doing "drive by" commenting on this site most of the time lately and that definitely isn't the best way to contribute worthwhile information.

Your post resonated with me, though, because my father was someone who has always needed other family to take care of him in some way, provide for him, and now he has real independence. My perception is that he's thrilled about that! I think you are enabling, of course, and I also think FIL is probably genuinely a bit scared of the unknown, too. But he will adjust and things will be better for everyone if you push him out of the nest and onto his own two feet.
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Wow, Thank everyone for you comments, I'm very grateful for your time. My FIL turn 61 this month. That's why I mentioned that he doesn't collect the traditional SS retirement income, as he is under 62. That being said, I wasn't sure if the SS would pay out on top of his disability check or not. But i'm learning they are probably one in the same for him, and it sounds like what he's getting is what he'll continue to get, but not much more.

I really appreciate the job suggestions. There are a few listed that are very plausible options. Interestingly enough I did find on the SSA website, there is some information about being able to go back to "work" under limited hours, and still being able to collect the disability check. I might have to print this out for him:
ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10095.pdf

I sadly agree we are enabling him, I thought the same thing about his previous living situation, but it wasn't my place to say or do anything, until now that it's become my problem. I also want to suggest the counseling for the depression, not sure how that will go over.
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Is your father age 62 or older?

My father gets a very small amount of Soc Sec, about $350 USD per month. If your FIL is retirement age, and I believe that starts at 62 in U.S. (though that's considered "early" and 65 is the full retirement), then he can apply for SSI income to get him up to $700 per month, if he's currently under that.

If FIL's disability check is $700 a month, then he will have enough to live on. HUD housing takes 30% of monthly income, there are programs for mobile phone assistance, electricity, SNAP for food stamps for those who are low income. 

My dad gets $700 total a month and he's putting a couple hundred a month away for a prepaid burial plan -- he has extra money each month that he has to spend to keep in Medicaid guidelines of under $2k cash assets.  With all the programs for low-income and seniors, it isn't too difficult to live on a very small amount of money.  
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I got my 79 yo father into low income senior housing last May. He's fine, self sufficient for first time ever, and is around people his own age. Push your FIL out of your comfy nest and he will be fine in low income housing. Get him applied to a couple of places so that something opens up sooner rather than later.

I'm purposefully ignoring the rest of your post because, to me, the bottom line is you want YOUR house for YOUR family and your FIL isn't going to be on the street, so this is a no-brainer that he will go to low income housing. There are some that are age 55+ and that might be the best option.

You're not hurting FIL, you're helping him.  Give him the gift of being self sufficient (with help from gov't).  There are many programs to help him and he will be fine.  Your feelings are valid and you have a right to have your own household w/o FIL's presence every day.  It may be tough in the interim to get things switched over, but once FIL is fully self sufficient, I truly believe he would thank you for that. 
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Don't really have much to add. My suspicion is that FIL thinks he is pulling his weight by taking care of himself and clearing up after himself.
Depression could be part of the picture but I suspect it is just that he has been made very comfortable.
As a contracter he is obviously very handy as long as he hasn't lost any of his skills due to the strokes. If he takes a regular job he will loose his SSDI. He can take SS at 62 but it probably will not be any more than his disability. if he is getting medicaid now when he reaches 65 it will change over to Medicare which will not give as good coverage. He needs to ask SS what his income will be. he may still be able to get Medicaid as his income will be so low. he is probably looking at an income of around $1000 a month which won't go very far.
There are lots of small part time jobs open to him, Dog walker, yard care, house cleaner which does pay very well. Some service stations employ a driver to take customers home while their car is being worked on plus run errands like going to the bank and post office. He may even be able to find something that includes accommodation maybe a handyman for an apartment complex.
This doesn't sound kind but you and hubby are enablers for FIL. I know this is not your intension but it is the reality. The two of you need to figure how you want things to be going forward, make a plan and stick to it.
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Are you saying that his disability check is not from social security? It's from a union or an employer, then? SS for regular retirement can start as early as 62, but for disability it can start earlier, and is likely to be more than the retirement payment (I say this because my old SS statements showed how much I'd get on disability and how much in retirement, and disability was more). I don't know what happens when a person receiving SS disability become eligible for retirement - I think they just continue at the prior benefit level but I'm not positive.

I think that when this topic comes up you need to tell FIL that you're planning on more kids and you will need the extra room in your house, so when a low income apartment comes up he needs to take it. Staying with you permanently just is not an option. And I like the idea of putting his money aside for his future needs. Yes, his son needs to get on the same page with you. But I would not hesitate to find him a subsidized apartment and insist that he get out on his own.
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Thinking more about the strokes, a common long term after effect is depression which would explain his lack of motivation. Is FIL getting any kind of support for ongoing rehab? The American Stroke Association - www.strokeassociation.org - might be a useful resource for him and you.
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Talk to Dad like u did here. Explain that you r planning to add on to your family. Subsidized housing will only take a percentage of his SSD. He will be able to get food stamps and help with utilities. There is a government food allowance once a month thru the United Way. Programs for bussing. Discounts to ride transit buses. He may be able to earn some money but that he needs to check with SSD. Your husband is enabling his Dad. It will not get better. His may have another stroke that will dibilitate him. Can you take care of a couple of children and a grown man.
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Call the low-income housing where his name has been added. Check in his status.  Then, update his status, adding a note of urgency.
Add his name to a few other places now. Make the contact person be you.  

Carry on.
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Thanks 97yroldmom for your insight. I also like your suggestion with putting any rent money aside. I have a feeling it's going to be a long few years until this get resolved. Fingers crossed that his name gets called soon, and that there are no hurt feelings. I'm sorry to hear you had to move to get out of the situation. Especially when you were just trying to do the right thing.
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Thanks Countrymouse and Ahmijoy for taking the time to read and respond. I think you both hit some point right on the nail, and I appreciate your support.

To answer your points; He stayed with another brother's son's family.... so that would be my cousin in law's basement, and it was only ever to be temporary there too. It seemed complicated to explain the relationship, that's simply is the only reason I left that out.

I think like my husband (who is the older brother) is one who feels responsible for his dad (also his mom, even grandmom). My husband is extremely responsible, one of the things I love about him. But specifically, I think it's rooted back to when he was very young, My husband had leukemia at age 4, and I know he's told me numerous time how his dad did everything for him. I think he feels psychologically like he owes him. I also think my husband is a little old school, in that it's completely normal for multi generations to live together.

As for my BIL, I will try and be a neutral as I can when speaking about them. But stating facts: they have a smaller income, house, and space then us. So logistically it made sense for it to be us. I couldn't agree more, that they could do more, but I've had other personal issues with my BIL's wife that has only just gotten better, so I choose my battles.

It's also worth mentioning that he has not yet starting collecting SS. This is where I'm trying to be more knowledgeable. I was under the impression he can not collect until 65? Also, we're not even sure how much he'll be getting, since he didn't really pay into the system for many years. I think he just cashed checks from various jobs sites and got by using cash. So we're trying to be realistic that his income, even if he get's SS (in a few years) won't be much at all.

I 110% think he is comfortable living here, and he has no ambition to leave. Just as you said CountryMouse. Why would he? I also feel like he thinks of himself as too old to back to work. Perhaps it's the stroke, but he acts like he doesn't have much time left. This whole situation has made me look at him differently. As I don't understand how he can be so okay with living off of us. He's said he would contribute by doing things/helping with projects around the house (both by putting money and his time). As nice as that offer is, I would prefer him to be on his own.

.... thank you for listening.
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This is a tough problem. Your husband should ideally handle this. It’s his father. And he shouldn’t handle it by throwing you under the bus.

But you can’t ignore the issue. It’s not going anywhere.
You don’t need to make judgments. It doesn’t matter how it came to be it just is and still needs to be resolved and soon.

Since he was brave enough to put it out there that he was happy to stay husband needs to let him know that’s not an option.

He doesn’t need to explain. He just needs to restate the original agreement. Dads name on list. Name gets called dad leaves.

Also let Dad know that he will help him how ever he can.

My DH has a niece who wanted to move into her GP house while it was on the market for sale. He let her do it but she had to pay rent. He took the rent money and put it in an account for her. When it was time for her to move out, he gave her the money to help her pay a deposit etc. She would not have saved it otherwise.

This could be part of the new agreement with his dad. Save money to be able to have a cushion when he goes.

DH and I let his sister and family move in temporarily with us. Her husband had just gotten a new job. They had lost their home. Three kids. BIL worked one week and lost the new job. We ended up having to move to get out of the situation. It was very hard. Hurt feelings for awhile but it all worked out over time.

So stay focused. There may be some awkward moments but it can work out.

Come back and let us know how you handle it.
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Hang on, sorry - between summer 2017 and the end of 2017 your FIL was staying where?

Minor point, but it's part of the parcel.

Here's what it is.

You and your husband are providing your FIL with all expenses paid accommodation in a nice family home, where he spends his days with his son, charming young granddaughter and sympathetic DIL. He gets to use his entire social security as disposable income and has zero responsibilities.

Yes, I expect he does want to stay. Can't get much more comfortable than that, can you?

But it isn't fair, and it isn't reasonable.

#1 Nobody lives for free in this world. Everybody expects their food, utilities, housing and other basics to cost money. That is what social security is for - it's not spending money. And if your FIL isn't paying his way, then you and your husband are paying for him. Maybe it isn't that much, maybe it gets lost in the general household budget, but all the same. The reality is that you are giving him a free ride. What, do you have money to burn or something?

#2 If it isn't okay for BIL and the other family member(s) to be inconvenienced by having to find accommodation for FIL, how come it was okay for your husband and his family? I'm glad that you have treated your FIL with kindness and love. That is not the same as having agreed to his being a permanent member of your immediate household.

I raise these points to stop you feeling bad about even *discussing* the issue. There is a lot to be discussed. I respect - no, I admire - your and your husband's wish to support your FIL's remarkable turnaround and your gentleness with his feelings. But that doesn't mean it's any less important for *all* of the family to be involved in coming up with a fair, practical long-term plan for FIL. You and your husband are taking all the strain. Time to talk.

Recommended further reading for your husband: TGEngine's various threads on this forum.
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From what you’ve written, it doesn’t seem like any of you are on the same page. Kudos to FIL for cleaning up his act, but now he needs to “grow up” and fly away. I know low-income housing is very difficult to get into. My mom waited years and years.

You need to have an honest conversation with Hubby and get him off the fence. He needs to support you. It’s time for HIM to separate from daddy, too. Start exploring small, studio apartments for Dad. He doesn’t need a big fancy apartment. Maybe someone has an above-garage apartment to rent. When you have a few options, present them to Dad in a kind but firm manner on your’s AND your husband’s part. If Dad thinks Hubby isn’t supporting you, he’ll jump on that. Like I said, it’s time for Dad to leave the nest. Who knows, he may enjoy the independence!
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