How much should mom pay for room and board?

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My mother can no longer live on her own and just moved in with m and she and I are trying to calculate how much she should pay me each month. Neither she nor I are rich. Neither she nor I are destitute. Because of this, she and I both agree that we don't need to worry about trying to save her money, that we shouldn't burden my household, and that it doesn't have to be exact.

My brother suggested she pay me her entire social security check, each month, which is her entire income (she does have money saved, so she can buy clothes and take care of her extras, which are minimal, and her Medicare and supplemental insurance take care of probably 99.9% of her medical expenses, as it's pretty rare that she is charged an extra $10 to try a new med or something like that). She agreed to this suggestion of giving me her monthly social security check. But I'm not sure this is fair. Is it too much?

It's really room and board, not just rent. I'll by the groceries, cook the food, manage her bank accounts, do a lot for her. She will probably take on light chores to participate in the household and "chip in." Her mobility is not the greatest and her memory is going, but she's able to get around and do a lot of things, like dressing herself, setting the table, light dusting, those sorts of things.

In a recent discussion about rent, I saw that someone suggested charging based on the number of people in the house and charging the parent as one portion of all the people in the household. Then, add the mortgage, property taxes and utilities, divide by the number of people in the house, and charge that. Actually, she can't afford that. That would be way more than her social security check, because my property taxes are enormous. If I charge her more than her social security check, we will run through her savings and she won't have the ability to buy anything on her own. I'm just not going to do that because that little bit of money is her independence and I'm unwilling to take that away from her.

Also, she and I are getting a bit lazy and just want to come up with something. Everyone points-out that the amount of work having her here adds to my household is priceless and that taking the amount of her social security is fair. I don't care about charging her for my time but I don't want to penalize my household for my extra time taken to tend to her.

Anyway, I'm hoping if I "talk this out" with all of you that it will help her and me think through it and that maybe someone will come up with some suggestions for us.

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Thanks, all, for answers that are helping me understand the issues and options. I can't tell you all how much Mom and I appreciate this.

Here's another reason: Mom had it in her head that I deserved her entire check and didn't want to let go of that idea. Until I explaining about the gifting problem and, now that she has a good reason to go along with some other plan, she's happy. In the end, both she and I want to be as fair as we can about this, just both tend to try to be a little too generous to the other one, for the most part.
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I would skip the attorney, unless you can afford one (they charge $250-300 per hour near me). Just get a copy of the Rental agreement which is recognized by your State, and have your parent sign a genuine Rental agreement.
For the amount to charge, personally I would have a hard time taking their entire Social Sec check. Maybe do a search of what the average price of a room & board is in your area? Maybe there is a local college which has room & board prices posted. Just thinking if you can document what r & b actually costs in your area, the future possibility of the Medicaid office claiming you were "gifted" that amount, is contestable if you can prove that other people in the area pay X amount for R&B.
But the other duties you do for your mom, that is difficult to quantify.
I don't think an attorney is going to be able to come up with a better answer for you---PERHAPS you should be pro-active and talk with your local Medicaid office right now, and make sure you document your communications with them, so that they know, you are trying at the outset to comply with **their** requirements.
The point is to avoid having them come back at you and claim you were gifted with the money, if you can prove you asked **them** in advance, you're better off. (Speaking as someone whose grandparent was in Medicaid nursing home, and they seized the family home to pay off the Medicaid bills).
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I'm glad to hear about this gifting issue. She already could not afford the $5-$15k/month, so I'm definitely concerned about making sure she doesn't lose her ability to get aid if she ends up needing some.

My husband and I cannot afford to give up our full-time jobs and not remotely close to retirement so we realize we might have to eventually find her some place else if her care needs become too great.
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Geo123 - before you do this, I would highly suggest that you & mom go to see an elder law attorney to discuss how best to structure her options and also to update all her legal and will. While most family who take in a parent assume that things will be all kum-ba-ya for years & years, that often isn't the case. Mom's level of caregiving changes, the caregivers run out of steam or have something that dramatically changes what they can do…then mom needs to go someplace that provides a higher level of care and she applies to Medicaid for this as mom cannot private pay 5K - 15K a month for a skilled nursing facility.

Medicaid requires a 5 year look back and the $$ she paid you for rent, could be viewed as "gifting" and mom will be penalized for doing this. Medicaid tends to view all caregiving as done for free and out of familial duty without compensation unless there are legal documents in place. You need to have a rental or caregiving contract all set up that will pass a Medicaid review which the elder law can do that works for how your state does Medicaid. Good luck.
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Thanks for the example.
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I'll give an example. If you have $1200 a month in SS, your studio apt is $360 a month for rent with utilities included. Now food: Meals on Wheels gets $7 a day for two meals so that's $210 a month. Total $570 a month. Costs may be different in your area. Caregivers here are $20/hr for companions. Companions do NOT cook, clean, diaper or medicate.
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pstegman, I see that you mention 30%, but am not sure what the 30% is for. Do you mean I should charge 30% of her social security check? Or, do you mean 30% of my bills? As I mentioned, I can't use the formula from another discussion where that includes mortgage, utilities and property taxes as that would eat up her savings very quickly, but interested to hear what formula you're suggesting.

And, as to the other answers, I appreciate the suggestion that her savings might be needed for other things. I was thinking if my spouse and I leave her alone, we might want her to pay for a caregiver when we're gone. Or, even though Medicare and her supplemental say they pay for home nursing, I'm not sure how many hours of home nursing are covered (as an example in the event that she needs it, not that she actually does need it, now), so I'm hoping to help her save that bit of savings for that, as well.
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My parents do pay for the part time caregiver I insist on while hubs and I work! Good point Sunflo2
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Agree with psteigman, start there and then reevaluate after 6 months and adjust from there. It's kind of you to take her in and care for her. Remember you are helping her manage affairs as well and that is a time commitment as well even though a labor of love. If she at some point needs extra assistance, please get someone in to help and have mom pay for that. That is what her savings and income are for.
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My parents pay for most of the grocerys. They want to pay more, so I have them pay the electric and TV.. they keep the heat on high and the TVs on all day, plus we had to add sat. boxes for thier rooms so that bill went up, The also buy me car gas once in awhile for travel, and pay the Costco trips. They have plenty of money, us not so much but we hate to have them pay what were our regular bills. This helps us out tremendously, and they feel good too. We may need more in the future, but this is working for us now.
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