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URGENT: I just found out that a dear friend is at her wits end with her parents who are both citizens of the USA and permanent residents of Brazil. Her parents have been living in Brazil for the past 20 years where her father worked until he retired. Stupidly, her father did not report his income to the IRS and therefore did not pay a dime into Social Security. Her parents get $300/month from Brazil's pensioner system because her father did pay taxes in Brazil. They own an apartment in Miami and they own an apartment in Brazil. Neither apartment is worth very much and, if sold, might raise $200,000 total.


Her mother has Alzheimer's and her father has Parkinson's. Her parents are begging her to bring them to Florida where she lives. She has asked me for advice and I am meeting her this evening for a drink and just want to make sure I give her the best advice I can.


I see no way for her parents to be eligible for Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security. But that's about all I'm sure of! Any other suggestions???

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I hate to say this but you’re friend is about to get waylaid by this mess. I think she should think long and hard about accepting the responsibility. She will end up using her funds to save these guys.

“Begging her to bring them to Florida where she lives”. Oh boy....
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You might want to point out to your friend that her parents' poor planning does not equal her needing to solve this problem. The fact that they are hysterical and begging should make her pause. Not act.
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A USA citizen has to pay income taxes to the US no matter where they lived. The only way to get out of this is to give up your US citizenship. I would think if they re-enter the US they will be required to pay outstanding taxes. They are going to need a tax lawyer to sort this out for them.
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Here is something from the IRS website:

"4. I just realized that I must file U.S. income tax returns for prior years. How many years back do I have to file?

You must file a federal income tax return for any tax year in which your gross income is equal to or greater than the personal exemption amount and standard deduction combined (per the Form 1040 Instructions for the corresponding tax year). Generally, you need to file returns going back six years. This will depend on the facts and circumstances of your particular situation. For example, refer to Information for U.S. Citizens or Dual Citizens Residing Outside the U.S."

Could your friend's parents file and pay taxes for the previous 6 years? (No guarantee it would only need to be 6 years, but that is reasonable starting question.)
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Good news! My friend sold her parents' condo and that money, after she pays whatever taxes she must, will fund a room in a tidy little rest home in Brazil for her parents for at least a couple of years. She's getting important things done and is protecting herself and her own health from her parents.
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Doozy of an update! Basically: friend did not listen to what I told her and now is begging for help.

My friend's father died suddenly last month while she was in Brazil preparing to move her parents to a nursing home she found in a quiet little Brazilian town and to pay for it with the money she raised from selling their condo in Miami. Then, she and her sister decided to MOVE THEIR MOTHER TO THE UNITED STATES!

Yes, friends, their mother with Alzheimer's boarded a plane and now is living with my friend's sister, who has an infant, and her husband, whose useless, and now they all got together and started begging for money through email and Facebook. The GoFundMyPoorDecisions requests have become uncomfortable.

I cautioned her many, many times against bringing her parents/mother to the U.S. because her father did not pay taxes. I told her nursing homes are expensive and that her parents would not qualify for Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid. I told her as many of the things I have learned from the wise people on this forum throughout the years and it turned out I wasted my breath, time, and energy. Sigh. Whine. Sigh.
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Hi NYDaughterInLaw,
I agree with freqflyer, it is likely that her dad worked at some time in the US prior to moving to Brazil, and would have paid into the Social Security system. Regardless, they are eligible for Medicaid which is a needs-based program not based on paying in.
Also, assuming that the Social Security that they might be able to collect is not enough, they are able to apply for SSI. It is a needs-based program for people with disabilities (which it sounds like they both have). Here is a helpful page of info:
https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-11069.pdf

However, the possible $200,000 that may come from the sale of the properties is nothing to sneeze at! That money could sustain them modestly with in-home help. When that is spent down, Medicaid and SSI might be options.
Best of luck,
Margaret
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She is not bringing them back. She is putting the condo up for sale to get cash to place them in a nursing home in Brazil. Thank you all for the good advice. And I will let you know how this all shakes out. It's neither going to be quick nor easy for my friend. She is both strong and realistic and is putting her health first. I learned that she does have some serious health issues to worry about.
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NYD - splutter, splutter - do you mean they're asking YOU (as part of their social circle) for money??????????
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So maybe poor decision-making is genetic in that family? I'd just build some good boundaries and let your friend solve her own problem. Some people never learn and expect others to bail them out over and over and over again.
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