We [4 disabled persons] share a home. This really is not Only about Veterans assistance;
it's also about disabled adult children and keeping independent as long as possible, and Estate planning.

This year, we moved into a shared house for 4 of us, each disabled, and/or on SSI.
3 are on the high-functioning ASD scale, with individual abilities to cope with daily life.
One Vet has a little retirement income from other work, but mostly on SSI now.
Two are veterans [one mid-60's, the other mid-30's].
One Vet has a hearing disability linked to Military service, and just got a little bit of compensation.
The other Vet, with High-Function ASD, coped with military service for 6 yrs, but "regressed" deeper into ASD issues, related to military service, by then, and took a "mutually beneficial" honorable discharge----but of course, military medical/psych never documented it like that, because no one DX'd or recognized ASD then; he was not properly DX'd until AFTER he left Service. It would take a LOT of work, to correlate his med/psych records, with the ASD DX.
The Vet with Hearing Loss, also has exhibited PTSD symptoms since being in Vietnam...yet, VA has DX'd that as "bipolar". There are more signs and symptoms of PTSD, than of Bipolar! But that was just VA's last pronouncement.

It's taken over 40 years for him to seek help; VA DX'd wrong, which doesn't exactly block him attending the support groups and counseling for PTSD, BUT, that misdiagnosis helps him continue in denial! He was improving, until they made that DX. After that DX, he stopped attending counseling and groups.
He also has a long-standing potential chronic infection, which needs monitored, but as long as Docs tell him "everything's fine", he interprets that as "I don't have to think about it" he ignores things until they get too far out of control to fix very well.
THAT kind of problems with VA, are killing him faster.
The ASD Veteran cannot do home maintenance very well at all. He's a computer-cave-dweller.

Only ONE of us has any aptitude or determination, to do paperwork, maintenance; So, numerous catastrophic health/life events, of any of us, could quickly jeopardize all of us being able to keep living here.
It requires all 4 of us, currently, contributing to the monthly bills, to afford this modest house. All of us were being priced out of rent market.

We entered into this project in our mid-60's; we'll be lucky to live long enough to see it paid off.
Only 2 of us are on the mortgage. The other two are lower income than us.
We didn't put them on the mortgage, so they might be still access some State support if they need.
And, we didn't want their incomes mingled with ours to qualify for the mortgage.

But because 4 of us contribute to this house, it puts us ALL over-income in a myriad of ways, blocking us from participating in help-programs---like, property tax-exemption [as far as I have so far learned].

Our other kids, out-of-state, can't be on the mortgage, because they are struggling with other financial/ legal issues--but we want to make sure this place can help them, too, in the future, if needed.
Those kids are able to deal with ADLs far better than the 2 living with us, and MIGHT need to become the formal owners of record, OR, be the Executor[s].

We're not sure how this will work yet, so have not picked any particular method of legally wrapping this place up, beyond simply buying the place in our 2 names. We have some insurance to help pay the mortgage down, but not off.

=== We wanted to make sure our kids had a safe home Now, AND after we're gone, AND to not require other family members to feel obligated to take care of them.
We're desperately trying to do the repairs to the house and grounds, to make it as maintenance-free as possible, now, and going deeply in debt trying to do it.
=== We want to protect ownership of this place, from the vagaries of individual foibles.

I read that disabled child can stay in the family house, if they've been living in it, regardless of State [WA] wanting reimbursed for DSHS recipients.
WE haven't been DSHS recipients, but the 2 living with us, have gotten small helps over the last several years.
--- Do you know anything about how to legally protect the house?
Are there certain legal forms that must be filled out or filed?
Or is this the domaine of a lawyer, costing lots of money to start and maintain?
--- How best to set this up legally, to decrease or cap basic monthly expenses?
[For instance, our monthly mortgage payment total just increased by about $60 this last month, and we haven't even been in it a full year!]
--- How best to legally protect our house from confiscation, in the event of our deaths? [Like, a Living Trust [revocable or irrevocable?], or Family Corporation, or?]

Thank you, Aging Care community, for being such wonderful resources for morale support and compassionate, good advice!

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Hope this was helpful to you Chimonger. Good luck to you and yours.
Helpful Answer (1)

Funding under a title XIX Medicaid waiver program provides supports and services to allow the disabled person to live independently.

In S. California there are 'Regional Centers' that help and also provide access to services, but you need to go apply for the service needed, they do not have a list of what they will do for you. Must be a well kept secret? Received this clue at an autism parent's meeting, such as the ones that Autism Speaks might hold.
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The legal documents you will need are best done by an attorney. The national academy of elder law attorneys, inc. have an article on special needs, future planning. If you do enough research, take notes, do documents in advance, you can save money at the time of interview. It is an ongoing process and impossible to resolve in a single meeting, talk, or on this blog.
A Will that provides for a testamentary special needs trust.
A free-standing special needs trust or supplemental needs trust.
A POAA Power of Attorney for Advocacy
Powers of Attorney for health care and property,
Guardianship or customized powers of attorney for family member with disability
If guardianship is not needed, a dpoa assigning an agent should be signed.
Letter of Direction: MetLife Center for special needs planning/sample letter of direction form.
Theresa Varnet, esq, chicago, Ill published article in naela news june/july 2014
Helpful Answer (1)

If you go to meetings appropriate to the person's disability, or if that group has special classes or seminars, they are discussing how to provide for their children, teens, into adulthood and later. Meet up with like-minded people and at the very least you will be directed to the right place.
Chimonger, good for you that you made a home suitable for all 4 disabled persons. Have you thought about hiring a live-in house manager, maybe keeping the home titled in a trust? The special needs trust worries me a bit because the challenged person is not allowed access to their own money. If I had the solution, I would use it and share it with you.
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Yes, there is interest in providing for someone cognitively challenged after spouse dies. Funding a Special Needs Trust would be a problem for low income.
Then, placing someone under a P.O.A. would be quite a challenge to find a qualified person who can make that commitment, and be honest for his lifetime.
It is a rare person who really 'gets it' when a disabled person can appear and act normal at times. Institutional living would not suit this special person.
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Wow! Garden Artist, Thank you! Lots of good homework!
We're practically on a 1st-name basis at the ReStore, various 2nd hand stores, and whatever freebies and recycles come our way. But some things require new we're becoming very familiar with the local Home Depots, Lowe's etc., as well as other venues that have 2nd hand and recycles.
We watch for things on Freecycle, etc.
1st thing we had to do here, were three long rows of heavy support beams under the floors....this entire tract of houses were built cheap, substandard everything; this place never had anyone do maintenance on it, much beyond the roof--it's got 2 old rotting layers of shingles that are leaking.
We replaced the electric mains panel and a few electrical things in the house--more to do; then water heater had to be replaced before it blew up.
Plumbing and remodeling to do, to make this ADA accessible, but must wait--the roof needs expensive repairs; we need to do a standing-seam metal roof, to prevent need for anyone needing to do roof anytime in foreseeable future.
Later, windows need replaced.
I already compromised more than should have on the flooring--had to settle for bargain-basement click-lock laminate faux-wood--but that got the high-VOC new carpet out of here--we donated that to the church's parsonage house.
The fireplace/chimney needs repairs--bricks are spalling and the insert is rotten.
We need medical-grade air filters and water filters.
There are several large sick and/or dead trees in the back which need abated, but those are lower-priority than roof and plumbing

ALL these things, we used to do ourselves, but cannot anymore.
We negotiated with a couple contractors, to let DH help with some repairs, so he got familiar with what's-what with the house, and, reduced cost of repairs.
But bless 'im, he only lasted one day under the house, and couldn't do anymore; was out of commission for several days.
We're using his Vet discount everywhere we can, seeking sales, everything.
I Never go out on Black Friday for sales or anything...but last Thanksgiving weekend, I did--and netted a terrific deal on a hybrid water heater, with a fabulous rebate for it's energy efficiency from the utility company.
We have started a raised-bed garden in the back yard, currently growing some produce which helps reduce grocery bills a bit. We netted some free used compost from the mushroom farm next door for those.

Had never heard of HUD grants for emergency home repairs? I will have to check into that!
Will also check with the Senior center for assistance you mentioned.
I know there are volunteer lawyers who do 30-minute appointments through Area Agency on Aging--but one never knows what their specialty is. I was headed there, too. Had not heard of the annual Expo...will ask!

Unsure about getting free legal. Collectively, we're over-income. IF the kids could do it, they'd qualify, as they are under-income, but not on the deed/mortgage.
The two "kids" cannot deal with paperwork or interfacing with people much.
The 3rd one, not so good at that either; I'm pretty much "it" for taking care of business, particularly when it comes to juggling multiple issues and projects, and, interviewing/screening/picking contractors. I've always been the Chief-cook-bottle-washer-and-Advocate.

I dearly appreciate you input!
Now for some sleep, and start all over again in the morning---tomorrow, it's high-finance trying to keep ahead of the bills, and research!
Looking forward to what you are able to find.
Pretty sure, there are plenty of families in a similar situation, particularly with the vast increases in variously disabled kids, up-and-coming. Likely, they might all be interested in a "recipe" to follow, to set up safety nets for them, too.
Helpful Answer (0)

Look into how to create a corporation owning the house as an RCFE.
Helpful Answer (1)

I agree your issues are complex, and multiple. Let me just take a stab at a few only, some of which aren't specifically addressed in your question but do relate to cost savings and assistance.

1. The veterans can appeal their diagnoses, I believe. I don't know the process, but contacting one of the service organizations might be the best way to start. I'm only familiar with American Legion and VFW; Pam Stegman I believe has had experience with others and may stop by and post (hopefully).

2. The issue of how to keep the house preserved for special needs is a mystery to me; I've never encountered it and have no information about it, but I think there are enough complexities in this situation to justify (a) researching special needs trusts and (b) seeing an estate planning attorney whose practice includes special needs trusts.

Before you consider retaining an attorney, however, do a lot of research on special needs trusts so you can minimize the time required to explore how to accomplish this.

There may also be a way to add a special restrictive covenant to the Deed but this is a highly specific area about which I'm not qualified. I do recall that restrictive covenants such as racial ones have been banned, but am unsure about special needs covenants and title issues.

Did some quick checking; this is about as good a description of a restrict covenant that I could find:


I'll do some more checking later as this topic interests me and I'm curious about what could be done to help you and your families.

I worked for an attorney who did some special needs trusts but I wasn't involved in working on them, so can't offer anything more specific on that issue.

3. You might be able to get help for home repair and/or maintenance from Habitat for Humanity or Christmas in Action. Some churches, location dependent, may also offer assistance. This might be something you can start exploring by calling the United Way hotline (211).

4. If you're not already doing it, start shopping at thrift stores; you might be able to pick up things needed for the house or for maintenance at a bargain. Once I went on SS, I realized the benefit of shopping there vs. at Hudson's!

5. There was a group with Angels in the title - I can't remember it now but will search for it later. It provided various food packages for a monthly rate. The drawback was that the packages were a mix of foods, some of which might not be to anyone's taste and therefore not really useable.

There's also Forgotten Harvest for assistance with food.

If you're able to garden, growing your own food is not only healthier, cheaper, but it's therapeutic. Gardening has been used to provide therapy for veterans.

6. Some communities (such as my city) get HUD funds for emergency repairs. As I recall, they're grants to the city but free to qualified residents. That might help with home maintenance.

7. Some churches might be willing to adopt your group as a project, periodically providing yard or house maintenance services. Check with the Mormon churches (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints).

8. Depending on your ages, there might be some assistance from a local senior center (such as chore service) or through Washington State. Michigan has an Elder Law center which provides free legal advice to income qualified people and also acts as a sort of clearing house for other related assistance.

9. Check out your local Area Agency on Aging to determine if it holds a semi-annual Aging Expo. I've been to several; information on disabilities is generally available from companies which focus on these areas. Their services aren't free, but you might find some that eventually could help if you need to make modifications to the house facilities.

This might help:

These expos typically include law firm participants who provide various literature on aging and sometimes disability needs. They hand out coupons for an hour of free consult. Each of you could each get a coupon, divide up the issues and get some 4 hours of free legal advice.

That's all I can think of now.
Helpful Answer (3)

Your question is very complex. You would need to contact an Elder Care attorney or Estate Planning attorney to go through this maze because of four unrelated people owning a house.
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