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I have a two bedroom apartment over my garage that I used to rent out for 1,200 a month, but when my mother-in-law needed a place to live my wife and I let her move into the apartment when the tenants lease was up. She is on Social security and Medicare and is considered permanently disabled. We do not charge her rent because she simply can not afford it with her medical bills...although she does pay for her heat/electric and cable. I know I can claim her as a dependent on my taxes, but are there any other programs either with the federal government or with the state of NJ that I can apply for? My wife and I really counted on the 1200 a month to pay our own bills and maintain our house, is there anything that can be done?

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Quickdraw, I doubt you can recoup any lost rent since it was your choice to place in that rental a non paying tenant.... thus, you probably will not be able to deduct business expenses on your income tax for said unit since there is no rent coming in. As for claiming your MIL as a *dependent* you will need to check with your accountant/CPA since MIL has an *income* [Social Security].

Your mother-in-law is quite young, too bad she cannot get a part-time job as sitting home at 65 isn't good for the mind nor the body. I am a recent cancer survivor, 68 years old and believe me if it wasn't for my career, I would be a basket case... especially now since I am on call to help my 90+ year old parents who still live alone in their own home.
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Thank you so much!
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It's all on the up and up, we are a legal two family dwelling with a separate house (or carriage house) on the lot. Is there a website I can go to for "section 8" to download forms or read up on it and do more research?
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I just Googled around and found this:

A total of 23 federal housing programs target or have special features for the elderly. Specifically, one HUD and one USDA program target the elderly exclusively, while three HUD programs target the elderly and disabled. The remaining 18 programs serve a variety of household types but have special features for elderly households, such as income adjustments that reduce their rents. The 13 programs for which data were available provide about 943,000 housing units designated for occupancy by the elderly. However, many programs also serve the elderly in undesignated units."

"Undesignated units" would be apartments like yours, I think. This site doesn't allow links, as I understand it, so I'm putting the address here with spaces. Omit the spaces and enter it in your address bar:

www.gao.gov/new.items/ Don't forget the slashes and periods.

Hope this helps.
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If she could qualify for a Section 8 housing allowance -- AND (very important) if you have an occupancy permit for the room over your garage and it passes Section 8 muster, you'd get paid a decent rent from that program.

Other than that, I rather doubt it.
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She is only 65, so putting her in a home really isn't an option we ever considered. She is a cancer survivor, among a ton of other things...her mobility is good enough where she can get up and down the stairs, and take care of herself...but her ailments keep her from being able to work. Her medications also keep her from being able to afford rent, which is why we gave her the apartment. I just wish there was something out there that would help us to recover the rent money lost. 14,400 a year for five years lost is a hard nut to swallow sometimes, it would be nice if we could recover just a third of that to help with the bills. If not, that's okay too, she is our mom! But I just wanted to see if there was anything like that out there.
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I agree with Pam above. Plus since your mother-in-law has mobility issues as per your profile, I would think living on a second level with stairs would be very difficult for her to use.
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It might make more sense to move her to Assisted Living on a Medicaid voucher, if your state covers AL Facilities. Check with your County office of the Aging.
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