I can't afford to keep my husband in a nursing home. My income wasn't as high as his. How do I get him home?


He has Parkinson's and was falling a lot without injury. Has Lewy Body Dementia. He is on a mood stabilizer that has helped a lot. Nursing home taking his pension and social security. My pension and social security is not as much as his and I have federal taxes at 15% taken out since they had me cancel any taxes coming out of his check. Since they didn't get his Medicaid approved for 8 months and it only went back 4 months, I owe 3 months at 3,000.00 per month. Since I can't keep up with only my income I have no where to turn to pay that. I realize that taking care of him will be exhausting but I don't believe I have any other choices. I think getting a bed alarm will help and my son who lives with me can help me get him into his wheelchair. The nursing home keeps stopping his PT. He gets stronger and can stand then they discontinue it. He is not getting involved in any activities except watching TV which he falls asleep to. I feel I can provide better stimulation for him. How do I get him home? Also I was in patient care for 34 yrs. prior to retiring 3 yrs. ago. I worked as an EMT in a busy ER trauma center. I know how to safely move a pt. and how to give his meds.

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Great advice above!
 It takes me so long to bang out a response, using my phone, by the time I post so many more comments are already there....lol.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Pepsee

Hi Ladyj,
I know this is nerve wracking for you, but just hang in there.

Answers are need, but not from you at this point. From the NH.

Make an appointment with the finance department of the NH. Ask for copies of all the paperwork starting with the original application that was submitted to Medicaid. You're looking for dates. Did they apply from September?

Make sure you get everything. Especially the approval letter from Medicaid. This should show the reason they only paid from December 1st.

(You're entitled to copies as you are presently responsible for the bill.)

This information should lead you to your next move, as well as answer some of your questions. Please let us Know what you find out. Others here, with much more knowledge then me, will probably be able to guide you from there. There's too many questions right now. But this is your starting point.

Seriously though, don't try to move hubby out yet. Let's try to figure this out.
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Reply to Pepsee

LadyJ ... In more immediate basis --- you may be able to cancel taxes taken from your pension/social security. With nursing home expenses as a write off and the new higher personal deduction and your stated low income can't imagine there would be much tax liability. Since we are half way through the year, you should be ok with what you have paid so far . (may even be due a refund).
Other ways to increase your available financial resources --- look at every bill, see if anything can be reduced. Seek help from office of aging for food stamps. See if there is a local food pantry that can help you. Every dollar you can save in that manner, can help you pay for other items.
The food pantry I work with has 80% of their clients falling into the senior age groups and fully employed (but low wages) category.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to geewiz

Ah, you had "help" but it was from the NH, and while they are, we hope, very good at the business they are in, they are not Medicaid specialist.

Why do you think Medicare should take care of the first 90 days? Was he there on a rehab basis? Medicare does not cover long-term care, only short-term rehab or transitional care stays. If that is what his stay was, if it was coded correctly by the NH then Medicare should be involved.

The NH (or a competent relative) could probably have gotten the application in the month you gave them information IF it were for a single person. A married person with a community spouse is a different matter altogether. Why didn't they know all the paperwork they would need from you in the first place? The NH shouldn't have offered help if they could not handle that.

You do need help now, and that is nothing for you to blame yourself for. I hope the Aging Agency can direct you to appropriate help at a low cost.

This is no criticism of you, but for future Medicaid applicants who may be reading this, If the application involves a community spouse, seeing an Elder Law attorney with a lot of Medicaid experience may save you money in the long run!

Also, keep in mind that NH and other care facilities are not in the Medicaid application business. If they screw up, it is your problem.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to jeannegibbs

To Jeanne and Barb- He went into the nursing home in Sept. I gave the business office paper work to apply for Medicaid. In Nov. they needed more information for Medicaid. Jan the nursing home attorneys got involved and I gave them more paper work. I always gave everything they asked for. In Mar. they asked for more and they rerouted his social security to the nursing home. Then in Apr. his Medicaid went thru. Therefor they only went back to Dec. 1st in covering his expenses. If I am understanding right his medicare should have paid for the first 3 mos. he was in the nursing home. Not understanding why I owe 9,000.00 for those 3 mos. I get to keep about 265.00 of his pension and that is all. We do own our home with a small 2nd mortage we are paying on. That covers that. I own a van and he has a truck that the family uses to move furniture. I own a motorcycle that is in my name only. I'll answer any questions you have for me.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Ladyj1949

Lady, PLEASE read and absorb what Jeanne has written.

When applying for Nursing Home Medicaid, the "community" spouse is taken into account; part of your husband's assets and income can be assigned to you to help you pay for your living expenses .

You should NOT have to survive on your benefits alone if they are not sufficient for you live. Please call the local Area Agency on Agency and get some help with revising his Medicaid application.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to BarbBrooklyn

I am very, very sorry that you are in this financial situation! I think that we have some excellent care facilities at this time (not all of them, of course) but we have a pretty poor track record at helping people afford them.

Why did Medicaid only go back 4 months? Was there some penalty involved? Or is that when you got the application in?

You don't have any ongoing expenses for the NH, do you? If you take your husband out you will still have the $9,000 debt, and you won't have any more income than you do now, will you -- or will his SS be available again? Is the NH kicking him out because of the debt? I just want to be sure that taking him out will really improve your financial situation. Your husband should be able to designate that some of his SS go to you instead of the NH. Did he check that box when he applied? (Medicaid for couples is WAY too complicated to apply for, in my opinion! Did you have help?)

He is now approved for Medicaid. What kind of Medicaid waiver programs does your state have? If you brought him home under a waiver program, Medicaid would pay for all his medications, probably provide some in-home help (not 24/day! but enough to be helpful), pay for an adult day program if that is appropriate for him, provide incontinence supplies if applicable, etc. So it might not be a totally daunting task to care for him at home.

Before you make any decisions, I think you need an explanation of all your options. Try contacting your Area Agency on Aging to see if they can refer you to a resource that can provide that kind of help. An Elder Law attorney could help you and may be necessary in the long run, but start with looking for a low-cost (but qualified) option.

Again, I am so very sorry you are in this financial bind.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to jeannegibbs