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Hello, my mother has FTD dementia and obviously cannot hold a job despite being merely 60 years old. Her husband died last year. She is living on her own and is physically/mentally fine for now since she is only in the early stages. That being said, she has significant financial issues now that she can't work. I am hoping people can share their tips on what programs are available (she doesn't qualify for Medicaid, yet) to help financially?


Currently she gets SSDI checks and widow's benefits. We have her property taxes "deferred" meaning she can elect not to pay them until death. We are desperate to keep her in her house as long as possible so that she can enjoy a decent life still (again, she's early stages of FTD). She lives in Fort Bend County Texas. The issue I am running into is, her ONLY source of joy is a 2 acre plot of farmland that she raises a couple cows on (she has no friends due to the FTD behavioral issues). This land disqualifies her from Medicaid because it is worth $15k. And besides, she would be devastated if we sold the land. But the problem is, if we don't stem the financial bleeding, she will have no choice but to sell the land. So I am basically looking for financial assistance programs for disabled people under 65 who don't qualify for Medicaid. This is a woman who worked for 40 years and lost $500k to a Nigerian wire/email scam, lost her husband. Her life looks nothing like it once did - it is a total nightmare. Our big problem is that most programs require Medicaid eligibility, so I ask that any suggestions keep in mind that she does not qualify for Medicaid. Any help is appreciated.


Her bills include:
AT&T TV,
Verizon cell phone,
$600!! Medicare Supplemental Insurance (expensive b/c under 65 has 1 option in TX),
Groceries at Randall's/Kroger/HEB
Rx Drugs but these are like $20/mo
Car Insurance
Water Bills
HOA dues
Natural Gas Bills
Electricity Bills
She has very little "disposable" income

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I suppliment an adult son by having him on a friends and family plan with Verizon. He pays 1/3 share of the family cell bill. Make sure it does not mess up with eventual Medicaid planning. Best to have her name somewhere on the bill or keep the contract with her cell number on it. If her cell phone dies or has problems, ask Verizon about if there is a warrantee. My husband had an S6 that was having connection problems. He was offered an S7 refurbished for $16
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jwhite2020 May 2020
Good point - I should see what it would save to bring her onto my family plan at AT&T.
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jwhite, is it possible for her to lease the land to someone who can farm it or raise stock on it? People do this all the time. It needs to be an income stream that makes a profit, not just breaks even, and would require oversight by the financial PoA but she still may be able to stay on the land. If you cannot find a way to make the land an income stream, it will just be an anchor in her situation. Having a live-renter on site is not optimal with her condition. Not every renter/leaser of land needs to live there.

Do you know what the Medicaid look-back is for her state? If not, I would check that out so some informed planning can occur -- just in case she needs to apply after 65.

Her existence on the land will be very lonely and it doesn't help for her or anyone to romanticize what it would be like for her to age-in-place there. Does her durable PoA live locally to her? Or any caring family? Who would be managing the upkeep/repairs? Can she afford that and the vet bills for the animals? Please consider that at a care community she will be among people and have activities. I understand it is difficult to internalize such a big change. If we would have given my MIL what she thought she wanted (aging in her home by herself with short-term memory loss and very limited mobility) she would just be a shut-in watching tv all day with us orbiting around her and becoming exhausted and resentful. Now she's in a great LTC community getting great care by great people and we have peace of mind. It's as good as it was ever going to get for her situation.

Sometimes people just cannot have what they want when it comes to caregiving because it is just not achievable without causing collateral damage. This is a hard reality for all us caregivers and our LOs. I sincerely wish you success in helping her and peace in your hearts for whatever her future best care requires.
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jwhite2020 May 2020
Thank you for your kind note! So it's 1 acre of empty pasture with a few cows, not large enough to attract the attention of a commercial cow farmer and land not fertile enough to actually grow anything. We actually did just start up a bee lease on the land - it doesn't produce any income but it allows us to get an ag exemption and reduce taxes from $800/yr to like $100/yr. So that's about as good as it gets in terms of making it income producing.

Medicaid look back in Texas is 5 years. We're also very concerned (talked with elder lawyers) because she effectively cannot manage any money on her own or it will go to scammers in Nigeria. So we had to open a bank account without her name and keep her money there and ensure that every penny from that account goes towards her expenses and nothing more. I shutter thinking about trying to explain this to Medicaid when we apply because on paper it will look like she is gifting her children money. But we will cross that bridge later, the facts are on our side. We have FBI paperwork on the scam and a box full of reasons why she shouldn't have control of money. We aren't interested in guardianship and involving the courts and lawyers because she has no money.

I don't want to own this land. But i suppose a plan Z would be to have her sell us the land near market value, we pay the money into this checking account that is used for her expenses. And then once that account dwindles, we apply for Medicaid. Atleast that way, I have something of value in exchange for the chunk of money going towards helping her bills.

The valid concerns you mentioned, don't really apply to where she lives. She lives in a HOA community surrounded by friendly neighbors and the POA does live nearby as well as plenty of family. Have cameras installed and as i said, shes very early stage so it hasn't presented a problem as of yet. But eventually, as you elude to, assisted living will be our option. I suppose at that point, then we start entertaining medicaid application and the farm land won't matter anymore. Just trying to keep her active and living a reasonably enjoyable life between now and the time Assisted living is needed.

Thanks for your comment!
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Are you applying for Medicaid as a suppliment? Because they usually allow more asset wise than they do for when paying for her care in a NH.

I suggest you make an appointment with your area Office of Aging. They usually have someone versed in Medicaid. $600 sounds like alot to me for a supplimental for what they pay out. O of A maybe able to find you a cheaper insurance. My state has a prescription plan PADD that is separate from Medicaid in its criteria. See if ur state has something similar.

Her TV, this is where you might be able to cut down to basic if not already there. There are all kinds of free streaming apps now. Tubi for one. Netflik for up to date movies. All you need is a Smart TV.

Never heard of deferred taxes until death. I would think this means the house is the Townships. There must be a lean involved. What happens if she needs LTC and is no longer living in the home?
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Medicaid doesn’t usually allow more asset wise for Medicaid health insurance. They don’t even count assets unless you are applying for a home & community biased waiver program and in that case, the asset limit is the same at the LTC asset limit which is $2k.
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If she's getting SSDI and Widow's benefits she's already got quite a bit of financial assistance. Unlikely to get more from the taxpayers just because she wants to keep cows.
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jwhite2020 May 2020
Thanks for your compassion-less, useless response. I expected this on Twitter, not on a forum for caregivers.
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Thank you for the correction; I misread that.

Still, why doesnt she qualify for Medicaid? Is the farmland income producing? Have you spoken to an eldercare attorney?
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jwhite2020 May 2020
Yes I've spoken to two lawyers. The farm is not a homestead. It's seen as a countable resource and disqualifies her from Medicaid as-is. My post is less about how to qualify for Medicaid, but more about if there are any tips to save money before we get to the medicaid stage. Thanks for your input!
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Is the farm her primary residence?

Has she applied for Medicaid and been denied?

Why is her cell phone/TV bill so high?
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It's her insurance that is so high.
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