A couple of months ago my mother in law was in the hospital she had severe UTI and wasn’t having a bowel movement for almost 2 weeks she lived in an independent living center with her boyfriend but they were living bad! Never bathing or eating right and the apartment was covered with roaches. My husband and I got power of attorney over her while she was lucid in the hospital (she has dementia) her insurance covered 20 days in a nursing home then after that they wanted every penny that was in her bank account! So I decided to take on caring for her. I am 25 years old and have two kids my husband is working out of town most of the time so I am the main one caring for her. My children are 5 and 1 my 5 year old goes to school but my one year old stays with me at home as well as my mother in law. I bring her to the doctor visits I feed her and bathe her and all of the above which I don’t mind doing. Yesterday I recieved a visit from elderly protective services because of the money taken out of her account, I don’t work because I care for her but I do use her social security for bills groceries etc . Everything I do is to benefit our whole family, my mother in law wants for nothing! I am her POA and her living under my roof does costs money . So obviously her bank has been monitoring her account but I don’t feel like I did anything wrong? My mother in law isn’t able to do really anything on her own so I literally do absolutely everything for her, I looked up the Louisiana Medicaid wavier plan so I can start getting paid to care for her but the waiting list goes 10 years back! So in saying that, I feel like her social security is my paycheck I have used it to pay my 5 year olds tuition before or my phone bill etc. Am I missing something? Like is every time I take money out or write a check am I going to get in trouble for paying my bills? I’m not abusing my mother in laws money I don’t go on shopping sprees or go on vacations for myself. This is a 24/7 job there are no breaks I’m on the clock 24 hours a day. I don’t know what to do because obviously I don’t want the elderly protective services coming back to my home. My mother in laws dementia has worsened so she can’t sign any paperwork stating she pays me to care for her all I have with her signature is the POA and it’s she wide POA everything is hers and ours. I need some guidance please! I don’t want any trouble and now when she gets paid again I don’t want to be fearful of paying what needs to be paid in order for us all to live.

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You didn't think the nursing should get paid to care for her.

You are using her funds to pay yourself without a proper caregiver agreement in place.

No. You cannot legally take her SS check and pay your bills with it. It's theft in the eyes of the law.

You need a lawyer. A certified Eldercare attorney. As POA, you can justify using MIL's funds to pay an attorney. Do that on Monday.
Helpful Answer (8)

MIL's SS is for her needs and bills. As soon as you pay for anything for anyone else that could and probably will get you into trouble with APS. As Barb said you need a caregiver agreement in place. How long has this been going on?

It sounds fairly recent and I think perhaps the hospital made the report to APS. Maybe you said something to them about using her money to pay yourself? Did you move her out Against Medical Advice?

I do not disagree that you should be paid for the care you provide. But, it has to be done legally with a care agreement. Income taxes, etc have to be setup to be paid by you as either her employee or you as an independent contractor. Has she been declared incompetent by her doctor? If not, she could still sign an agreement if the attorney determines she understands "in the moment" what she is signing.

Get to that elder law attorney ASAP for help setting this up.
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You do NOT use her money to pay for your child's tuition.
You CAN use her money to pay for
Medication for HER
Food for HER
A portion of the bills. Divide your bills (in 1/4 might be fair since the 1 year old is probably not using phone, cable, internet...) and she pays her 1/4 of the bills.

Your other option would be to apply for Medicaid. Apply for Food Assistance for her, and the family if you are eligible. And if this is something that you can not afford to do then allow the state to assume Guardianship and they will place her is a Memory Care/Nursing home that will care for her.

But using her money to pay your bills is not legal and you can get into some deep trouble. If there are any other siblings or relatives that can take this on it might be best to pass on the responsibility.
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You mention that “they” wanted every penny in her bank account. I’m assuming you mean the facility she was in for 20 days.

As you rightly state that your MIL should pay her way living with you - it’s only right she pay for her care provided by the facility. And - care facilities are expensive.

There is another huge factor you should be aware of if you continue to use your MIL’s social security WITHOUT a legal caregivers agreement... Medicaid.

If there comes a time when you can no longer care for your MIL in your home and she needs to enter a
Long Term Care and/or Nursing Home - I hope for your sake MIL has a whole lot of pennies in her bank account.

Should MIL need to apply for Medicaid to pay for the facility- without a legal caregivers agreement in place - or that you can prove that every penny of hers you spent was spent on HER care - which you’ve already said it’s been used for daughters tuition, etc. it quite likely Medicaid would be denied until YOU pay the facility all the SS money of MILs you used.

Dont get me wrong. I whole heartedly support that you are paid for what you are doing for your MIL and that she pay her share of expenses. It’s a tough, tough job you’ve taken on - which will likely only get tougher. BUT - you need to be smarter about this and go about it in a legal way.

Its not too late to turn this around and fix it. Get yourself to an attorney who specializes in elder care.

As soon as possible. Like, yesterday!
Helpful Answer (5)

How were your bills being paid before MIL moved in? I do agree that being a 24/7 caregiver is hard, and compensation is not unreasonable. However, to be legal it does need to be a formal caregiver agreement in the proper format, with proper tax withholdings, etc. Definitely talk to the attorney.

Keep in mind also that your family's expenses and those of your children (tuition, etc) are the responsibility of you and your husband, and MIL should not be responsible for those except for what household contribution is included as part of the agreement drafted by the attorney. Using her funds to pay your personal bills can be construed as financial exploitation.
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Of course she should contribute for her room and board and personal expenses, it also sounds like she needs a high level of care and there is nothing wrong with you being compensated by her for providing it, but it has to be set up properly. As well as getting APS off your back a properly executed caregiver agreement will ensure that all the i's will be dotted and t's crossed if she needs to apply for Medicaid in the future. And don't mingle her money with yours, keep everything separate and keep scrupulous records of everything.
Helpful Answer (3)

Just curious - what type of work would you be doing if you were working outside of your home? Would your youngest child then be in childcare since he/she is not in school yet?
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