My husband is at home on Hospice. I am missing 2-3 days a week of work trying to take care of him. Is there financial help for us? - AgingCare.com

My husband is at home on Hospice. I am missing 2-3 days a week of work trying to take care of him. Is there financial help for us?

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He has asthma and COPD and when he is having trouble breathing, I have to stay with him. My children are working or out of state and not much help. We are getting so behind on rent and utilities. I asked for extensions and have until next week to come up with rent ($575), utilities ($295), and a truck payment ($460). My check today for two weeks was $360. I have called Red Cross, Salvation Army, and OACAC for help and they all say I make too much money. (They look at gross wages not what I actually bring home after taxes and insurance). Where can I get some help? I can't very well provide him with oxygen if we are out in the street.

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Also for my mom at the beginning of hospice, she was O2 24/7 and with the first hospice provider it was off a tank. Very old-school. The second hospice provider switched from that to a floor unit (looks like a dehumidifier) on wheels that sends O2 to her and can be programmed by timer. It was fed in via tubes in her nostrils. In about 5 months, she went off O2 completely and the machine went away. She is back on O2 as of July and the machine is back with 24/7 delivery of it to her via lower face mask. A good hospice provider should be doing these sort of things and ordering whatever for your hubby which is all a benefit of Medicare.

Now my mom is also on MedicAID, so whatever isn't paid by Medicare is picked up by Medicaid. You need to speak clearly with your hospice group as to how they handle the billing for anything that is not fully covered under hospice. But your out of pocket should be minimal under Medicare.
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Is this through Medicare with hospice as a benefit of Medicare?

If so, then the hospice provider (which is being paid by MediCARE) should be able to provide to him and bill to Medicare: oxygen, specialized beds, any other specialized equipment or other items needed for his care. My mom is now on hospice since June 2013 (14 months) and her hospice provider has gotten: a specialized bed; air mattress (on a pump so it ebbs & flows - this is to keep bedsores more minimal); adult diapers; disposable feeding bibs; gloves for changing her & disposable mats for under her bottom (she is totally bedfast); a gerichair for strolling about & a bathing gerichair to be able to take into the shower; & cases of both Boost & TwoCal HN with FOS. All this billed to Medicare as hospice is totally a Medicare benefit.

Now if he is on Medicare and the hospice isn't providing these type of services, you need to find another hospice group. Hospice is totally a self-directed choice under Medicare, so you can pick the vendor. You can call the bigger ones (VITAS & Compassus) and find smaller more local ones through your AOA. They will come out and do an evaluation for placement of services. Since he is already on hospice, this should be a slam-dunk for transfer of provider. For my mom, I fired the first hospice group within the first 8 weeks as they would not update me on her vitals in a timely manner and their stance was more like, we are just waiting on her to die so why do extra's. She's still with us too and for 14 months since going onto hospice. Good hospice provider can make a difference plus she is one tough old bird.
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Freqflyer brings up a good point. Your rent is very modest but you truck payment is exorbitant. Maybe one of the kids would be willing to take over the truck and it's payments,
You made 360 in two weeks, but you missed a lot of work time so I assume that would be your take home for normal single week, making your monthly take home$1440, the expenses you listed add up to $1330, but your expenses are not covering critical things like food or gas for the truck to get you to work, car insurance, etc..

Difficult to deal with at this time, but the truth is your income won't support those expenses, and that has nothing to do with hospice or your husbands condition, unless you just lost his income.

Look at someone taking over the truck or potentially turning it back in and getting a lower end used vehicle, try Carmax. Look at cutting back other expenses....sorry this is tough and the timing sucks
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Another thought: I'm not an attorney, so I'm not sure about this...but if you can't afford the whole $575 for the rent, write the landlord a check for, say, $300, or what you can afford. Ask him at THAT time if he'll accept less rent for a period of time. If he takes the check, he can't (I don't think) start eviction proceedings. Even if he does, don't move. Let the landlord work his way through the courts. That could take months.
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I'd sure investigate Medicaid. If you don't own a home, chances are he's eligible and may get help that way. I'd also figure out how much you need to "break even" on a shoestring and directly ask your children to chip in X$ a month.

If he has any retirement plans, now would be the time to draw down on them to pay bills. I assume you've checked, and your company doesn't have family leave.

Ask your landlord if you can cut your rent back temporarily to $500. See if the utililties will accept some sort of payment plan. If you have another car, sell the truck or get SOMEONE YOU TRUST! to take over the payments.

Call the Council on Aging (or whatever it's called in your area) and see if they have any other ideas for you.

It's an awful situation when we are caring for a loved one on hospice and have to worry about paying the bills as well. I am sorry for your predicament. I know life isn't fair, but . . .
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Let your kids know about your financial situation. They may not be able to leave their homes and jobs and come physically help you, but they might be able and willing to help out financially until you are back on your feet. They should at least get to decide by knowing about the situation.
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Call your HR department at work and asked if your are on FMLA if the company has insurance to cover part of your missed pay, such as Aflac. Check with the American Lung Association to see if there is anything they can help you with, health wise.

At times like this, one has to cut back on expenses.... such as cellphones, cable, internet, etc.... if you have another vehicle already paid for, then sell the truck as that is a huge monthly expense.

So sorry to hear about your husband.
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Your kids need to step up and help out.
One never knows how long hospice will be, you may be better able to manage a long stay at a facility, where you can visit before and after work. I understand the draw go do this at home, but it is a lot more draining and complicated.
Unfortunately, your husband will pass, I hate to compound the tragedy with burdening you with debt.
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You should be able to get SNAP and HEAP. If he was a veteran, call the VA. He should be on Medicare and SSDI. Your children may assume you are getting by OK. Don't keep them in the dark, let them know what you are up against and they will help if they can. $720 a month is not too much income for Medicaid either.
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