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Since late 2012, I’ve made monthly out of town visits as the only available family member to care for my widowed 89 yr. old father (dr. Appts., household duties, paying bills, shopping, cooking and freezing meals, etc). I have a sibling who lives 550 miles away and a niece 40 miles away. I have POA, so they seem to think everything relating to dad is my responsibility. Dad’s Income is slightly above the poverty level, but he often offered to “let me pay for your trip”. I declined and said we could settle up later. His health care insurance was over half of his SS check. Dad became increasingly crippled by osteoarthritis becoming wheelchair dependent, essentially homebound. There was onset of dementia and worsened with lack of stim. I arranged Home health care for med management, ADL’s, hired housekeepers and sitters to clean his house, prepare meals, fix dinner plate to reheat, and medication reminders (he’s insulin dependent). He was not safe living at home alone, and refused to move closer to his children. He became depressed, sleeping a great deal and began skipping meals. In 2017 we moved him to a wonderful War Veteran’s Home, a little further away, but extended family is in same town and often check in with him. This is a huge help to me. I continue to make frequent visits every 4-6 weeks. He has lived there a year with much improved results. Recently, we sold his modest house and he now has funds to reimburse me for travel expenses. These caregiving duties took a toll on me and my husband while I held a full time job. Consequently I took early retirement in mid 2013 and replaced my 2000 Yr. Honda with a new, more road worthy car that now has 80,000+ miles. I estimate almost half of these miles are for traveling to care for and manage my father’s affairs. I do have records that support this travel. Any answers or suggestions regarding my question.? Thanks

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That depends on whether the elder has the wherewithal.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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i would strongly encourage you to contact an attorney regarding reimbursement for mileage. If you’re estimating 40k miles reimbursed at .545 per mile (current IRS allowance), that totals $21,800 which will raise questions with any potential beneficiary down the road. A client of mine accepted the role of guardian with expenses covered while in AZ. When she moved her grandmother to NH, that contract was not recognized. The nursing home sued her for $125,000 - total reimbursement for moving expenses, mileage, administrative duties etc. Better to check before you write a check.
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Reply to Barsenault60
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Whoever is in charge of Dad's checkbook, should surely Look: Yes, You should fairly have a little Money, honey, To have been the One to venture Out to see Dad. Maybe they would like to take over for you?
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Reply to Parise
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Just one thought that occurred to me as I read your post. You stated that his medical insurance was half his SS check. I assume you are referring to the Medicare part B. Have you talked to a Medicare insurance expert? There are some Medicare Advantage insurance programs with zero premiums. My dad had one with Coventry Health at one time. Yes it’s an HMO but still that’s better than what he’s paying now.
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Reply to Harpcat
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Grandma1954 Dec 10, 2018
The medical coverage he gets from the VA should be enough to cover what Medicare does not. With Medicare being primary and VA secondary coverage. I know with my Husband we had no out of pocket expenses and he was not eligible for a VA Home. (Where I am the Veteran has to be classified with 100% "Service connected disability)
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If you're making these journeys solely for purpose of supporting your father and seeing to his needs, it should be fine to claim the expenses back. Nothing in the POA documentation about it?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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Grand1 - listen I understand, I was wandering in MediCARE/ Medicaid maze just as you find yourself. In 2004 we dealt with MIL NH Medicaid & her financial debt as she was a real credit card terrorist AND then Hur. Katrina hit in 2005. It was beyond a learning experience & a real eye opener as to how “at need” & “homeless” state programs / insurers work & more importantly do not. I got involved in volunteer stuff as my industry was basically killed in New Orleans for 2 years. The biggest takeaway was no matter what the program, they are all super, super time sensitive. Its all keystrokes into a system. By being time sensitive its a way to reduce # therefore reduce costs paid and its on you to pay attention to time frame for filing / notifications / document submission etc. Or your toast......

If mailings, really pay the $8.00 and send all via certified mail with the return registered card (green postcard) from the USPO.
If faxes, send from a Fed Ex Office type of store, that faxes provide a time coded transmission report verified in addition to your receipt.
Both are considered legal verification. So if someone gets pissy w/you, you have documentation you did your side.

Throughout my adventure- whether Katrina, Medicaid, probate related- my experience is abt 20/25% of the time, the caseworker or staff will keystroke in that documents not received in time. Having the return registered card with someone’s scrawled signature on it, shuts that down. As does the transmission report.

Also you mentioned doing a FH trust, make sure if he’s on Medicaid that the trust is Medicaid compliant. For burial preneeds that usually means that it is under a set fixed price. Be sure to see that both the funeral and burial costs are both included in the deal. They are often 2 separate creatures as cemetery is not owned by FH but instead by a religious order. Funeral / burial 5k - 10k, the exact amt allowed is set by your state. If there is still $ left, often Atty’s will have it go into a special needs trust with Medicaid as primary beneficiary upon death. It’s a way for Medicaid to recoup costs paid.
Good luck in your maze!
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Reply to igloo572
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I agree with igloo, you need to check with VA and see if the house sale effects the cost of the home.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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What all you did was awesome.
Wanting to be reimbursed makes sense, but SHOULD the war veterans home have required him to be “at need” both medically and financially in order for him to live there, that recent house sale will affect his “at need” status. The sale increased his monthly income the month of Act of Sale and then becomes an asset for all months afterwards.

To me, you need to clearly find out if that is the case. ASAP!!!

If so, he cannot reimburse you as it more than likely will be considered “gifting” of his assets (his property / his $) to you which is not allowed by Medicaid or other “at need” housing / health care programs.

Eventually the house sale will surface in his states overall database.
It may well be, that he / you as DPOA is required to let the facility know of a change within a set period of time.

Please please look into this ASAP.
why? Cause if it’s “at need”, he will either revert to private pay and then maybe have to go thru a new application once he’s again impoverished.
OR
he will need to do huge spend down within month house $ received so he starts and ends the month of the sale impoverished.
OR
$ placed into some sort of SNT for his sole benefit that’s within “at need” compliance.

To have gotten around this, either - in my experience-there would have been some sort of Memo of Understanding or Promissory Note done before you started incurring costs that’s witnessed and notarized that reads it’s to repay you for actual costs incurred for property debts or other lending with the house as collateral & payable after sale or as a claim against the estate. Or you had a caregiver contract or personal services contract that covers time / wages and expenses.

If medicaid is at all involved, they tend to assume family does all for free and totally out of a sense of familial duty.
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Reply to igloo572
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Grand1of1 Dec 1, 2018
Thank you, Medicaid is not involved. We plan to establish a non-revocable trust for funeral expenses which should drop his assets very near the amount of the limit. Will again verify with elder care attorney in his state. When I started this adventure 6 years ago, I had no idea what I was getting into. Hence no notarized doc. Putting this story out there as words to the wise.
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