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Disabled spouse - Page 2

post #21 of 44

I'm sorry you're going through this. My sister-in-law faced similar circumstances last year, although her husband passed away unexpectedly only a couple of months after becoming disabled.


She did daycare, which let her care for him at home, but I don't know how she managed it. Her DH couldn't feed himself or manage his own hygiene.


Have you considered one of those companies that buys homes? I've seen them advertised, I don't know if they are legitimate or would give you a fair price. But in truly desperate circumstances, it might be worth it to have the house not listed as an asset when it's only costing you money (in taxes and utilities).


Best of luck mama.

post #22 of 44
Thread Starter 


Edited by seawitch - 4/26/11 at 1:36pm
post #23 of 44

I think you're doing the absolute best you can, given the circumstances. I know when my brother-in-law was experiencing problems, he was less able to reason like an adult would. He was already prone to jealousy and it became toally out of control, and he just had a hard time realizing why he needed to stay in the hospital, then rehab, why his family couldn't always be there (whereas in his right mind, he would have FLIPPED OUT if his children had missed school for any reason, even to be with him). Given what you've described, it seems like it would be detrimental to your DH's well-being to return to CO.


I really think that getting the house sold would be a huge thing, OP. Even selling it for cheap - if that let you move FL, NEAR your mom but not WITIH her, get a little house or condo of your own, pay cash for it, and not have it count against you because it'll be your primary residence. . .well, that would be a huge thing, wouldn't it?


Also, if COPES let someone else take care of him, maybe that would be the mental health break you need? If you can hire someone of your own choosing, so it's a good fit, it might be ok. I would revisit that idea periodically.


And I also want to say, that I don't think there's a thing wrong with deciding to keep him home and not going back to CO. One of the things that comforts my sister-in-law, now that her DH has passed, is that she did everything she could. She brought him home, she cared for him, she fought for him every step of the way. It comforts her and her children to know they tried everything they could.

post #24 of 44
Originally Posted by HappyMommy2 View Post

Well, perhaps he needs a reality check.  You are responsible for caring for him, you, and your children.  You are the head of the household right now.  If CO is the best place financially and emotionally, I think you might need to make a tough decision to do the best thing for everyone. (Easier said than done, I am sure!)

Exactly.  I am all for supporting him since he needs that now, but you can't do that at the expense of the rest of the family.  


Are you his legal guardian at this point in time?  If you haven't put that in place- it's probably time given his erratic behavior.


You are doing so much for your family, and are stronger than I think I could ever be.  

post #25 of 44
Thread Starter 

Incidentally, moving back to CO wouldn't really solve our financial problems either, at this point.  We were basically scratching by with his disability payment (1470 a month) and that was when we didn't have any debt at all - now it's in the tens of thousands.  I guess it would improve things, but we would still have to find a way to move back there, break this lease here (which is another, like, 4000) - one moving pod worth of things is like 1500 to move, not to mention actually getting back there, fixing up the house, etc.  So we'd be like, 30 K in debt and that was the town where I literally applied to pretty much every last position and contacted every possible lead as far as finding a job, with no bites at all.  I'm serious, I spent months making about a hundred phone calls per day.  And I pretty much ran out of the goodwill of the child daycare supplement support people there.  They thought I was frauding them because literally EVERY week that the kids were in daycare one or both of them got sick in the middle of the week, and the school policy was that they would then have to be brought home for 48 hours.  And the CCCAP office literally didn't accept the school's word and my word that that was the case, they thought I was just trying to scam free daycare from them - esp. since the rate was figured without DH in the picture.  They wanted to send child support after him but right when they were going to do that, we ended up getting back together - and I never got a job (I was searching, but I never found one) and they were just basically upset and said my case was closed and I couldn't expect to get daycare assistance from them without stupid amount of appeals - and I don't have any more documentation to back up my case, either, so why would they let the appeal go through?  And there is NO way that I could get a job that paid for two kids in daycare as well as the amount needed to cover our rising debt.  If I could even GET a job, and like I said... that's doubtful. 


DH doesn't trust anyone, he barely trusts me.  I could offer him the option of another caregiver but I don't think that would go over super...  And the VA discourages people from getting power of attorney over their vets.  I guess they had legal issues a while back so they counsel heavily against it, because for some reason military culture is paranoid that all spouses want is the military bennies - and I guess the same goes for VA ones as well.  Urgh.  So although he was amenable to me getting POA for him while he was in the hospital, his social worker basically talked him against the idea and now he won't hear of the idea.  He says if anyone is getting POA over him it's his mother... and that's a nice long post for another day.  She just got fired and would love nothing more than to have him move back in with her so she could collect his check.  So I hesitate to push the POA issue too far - because the few times I've brought it up he viewed it as "proof" that I was just trying to manipulate him for his money.  He even came up with a scenario where Mr. Stalker and I were trying to get him committed before he and I run off together with DH's benefits.  (One of his diagnoses is paranoia, after all.)  Etc. etc. etc. 


The FIRST time he was awarded any money it was backpay (back in 06) for like 12,000.  He spent it all in two months.  To the last dime.  On what?  Who knows.  Cigarettes (he's since quit) and video games and I don't even know.  He spent like 900 on coffee alone, he just kept driving down to get coffee after coffee.  When I told his doctor that the first time he was an inpatient, wait no, second time, the doctor just shrugged and said that they were his benefits to spend as he pleased.  Like, what?  They said there was no way they'd give someone as young as me POA when he was relatively healthy.  Maybe the situation now has changed, but obviously the VA doesn't care one way or another what happens with the money once it's gone.  Even if he's incapable of dealing with it.  Which isn't even the case at the moment, really, cos he gives all the money to me voluntarily... but again, it's... it's touch and go.


It sounds like I'm making excuse after excuse, doesn't it?  Sigh.

post #26 of 44

....... don't have much time but had to say that you seem like such a strong woman. Things will not always be this bad.

Someone suggested "gifting" your house to a trusted party. Would that benefit you so that on paper it appears that you own nothing? Then, it will always be there for you if you ever need it.

I wish you well. Sorry, wish I had some real advice but I am thinking of you here.

post #27 of 44

I'm so sorry this is happening to you and your family.


2 things-

  • if you really cannot move back to CO, then you really just have to sell the house.  It's not helping you, it's draining you.  I like the idea of gifting it to someone, but I will warn you that social services usually looks for things like that- transfer of property, money, etc right before applying for benefits.  In fact, I think they look back about 2 years.  
  • The VA cannot tell you husband he can't pick a healthcare POA.  However, it looks like you've already crossed that bridge and your DH will not voluntarily make you POA.  There is the possibility of going to court and having him ruled incompetent to make his own medical decisions, and the judge can make you healthcare (and legal and financial, which sounds necessary) POA.  I know that sounds painful, but it may be the only way to protect yourself and your children.


I wish I had more advice.  I don't think things are going to get better leaving them the way they are.



post #28 of 44
Originally Posted by MagnoliaDragon View Post



"COPES can pay for personal-care services in your home in two ways. It can pay a private agency or it can pay a person you hire directly (called an “individual provider”). An individual provider may be a relative but may not be your spouse."


WHY?  WHY the heck is it set up like that?!?

Ugh...  I am sorry, I didn't know that...  If they would pay someone else to care for him, maybe you could use that time to get at least a part time job out of the home and bring in some money?  Maybe find out how much time you could get coverage for?



post #29 of 44

Personally, I would keep the house. You mention one of your worries is your husband passing away and leaving you with nothing & no way to support the kids. Having a home free and clear (well, just taxes and upkeep) would go a long way toward reducing your monthly expenses should that happen. If it were me, the only way I would sell the house would be if I could buy another house free and clear with the proceeds. Money has a tendency to get spent, especially with medical bills and collection agencies involved, whereas a house is a house is a house. If it were me, though, I'd move back to CO now (or maybe after the lease in WA expires) in spite of wishes to the contrary. Financially, it makes sense.


In the meantime, there's renting, as other PPs have mentioned. Or how about a house swap? People do that. CO is a desirable state & many people would love to be there.

post #30 of 44

I would sell the house as is (don't worry about fixing it up! it isn't necessary or worth the bother right now!) and buy something smaller, in a place you might be willing to settle down in. 

post #31 of 44
Originally Posted by velochic View Post

I couldn't *not* reply.  I've never heard such of such a desperate situation.  I am so sorry you are going through this.  I'm at a loss for comforting words and in your situation I don't really know much more that you can do other than what you've done.  I guess for starters, forget about the medical bills.  Let them go and don't worry about paying them.  I think it's a crime in the US that people go hungry because they can't afford their health care.  That should never happen in a civilized society.  Just don't worry about paying your hospital bills.  Let them go to collections.  They can't garnish any disability payments your dh might receive, so let it go.  You have no taxable income, so they really can't do anything.  If you have to, you can eventually file bankruptcy on them and there are ways to protect your assets such as your house.


The other thing I was thinking about is the house.  Is there anyone that you trust that you could "gift" the home to?  Someone who would not sell it out from under you, but would keep it for your future and gift it back to you?  I'm thinking this must be the asset that is preventing you from getting social services.  I know this sounds risky, but you might try to talk to a lawyer (I'm sure there are those who will help pro bono) to see how you might get the assets off of your own books, but protect them for you to get them back in the future.  I have no idea if that is even possible.


I know that for privacy reasons, you don't want to disclose more information on a public forum.  I don't blame you one bit, and I'm cautious, as well.  Some of the nuances of your situation may mean that there ARE other options available, but based on what you've written, I just don't know what.  All I can say is that you sound like a very strong woman and wonderful mother and wife.  With everything you are dealing with, I commend you for still being able to get up in the morning.  Again, I'm so sorry you are going through this.  Best of luck!!

Your story is totally heartbreaking and the fact that you have survived as long as you have is pretty amazing. 


I am sort of curious if there are any group home situations in your area.  Sometimes they have live in staff.  Maybe DH could live there as a resident and you (and your two little ones too) could live as some sort of live in staff. 


Directionally, you need a situation where you have some respite and your family can remain as intact as possible.  I think the POA thing needs to be done due to the poor judgements he has made when  he was in an even better state. 


I know you may not have the mental energy for it either, but you older child most likely would be qualify for early childhood special education.  What that looks like would vary from place to place, but it too should provide you with some time away from his/her needs in a setting where they will understand the needs your child has.




Edited by mnnice - 4/29/11 at 6:41am
post #32 of 44





Is there a chance that your hubby will get violent or be unsafe to you and the kids the worse his condition gets? If so you need to make the very hard decision of having a back up plan for you and the kids (even if it means him going inpatient) to keep everyone safe. I know alot of the military folks are coming back "messed up" not to mention someone who has a brain problem that causes changes in behaviour. If he has been acting not like himself and if it's going to be worse, you should have a seperate Plan C in place for just you and the kids. That needs to factor into your where to move plan.  {{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{hugs}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}



Is your mom going to help pay to get you guys out there? Do you know for sure you are moving and have a date yet?

post #33 of 44
Thread Starter 

We are 99% sure moving and my mom is TRYING to help with the moving costs but she doesn't have a whole lot of money at the moment either.  She has a lot of assets but is tight on free cash, so I don't know how much help she can be...


The Plan C, I guess, is to get him in an inpatient program if he gets violent...  And then continue on...  I think it would balance out.  Actually I think I could do just as well if H was out of the picture, financially... It would be easier if he was making full disability, sure, but as of right now with his partial disability, I'm still limited by not being able to work.  In an ideal life I want to stay home with the kids and homeschool and do self sustainable stuff and unjob, and we might be able to do that, but I don't know.


I just have to wrap my mind around the fact that most of the "social net of safety" network stuff isn't something we can count on because we've moved around so much and had gifts from my mom to help pay off debt and house transfers etc and they do look at the past few years.  The last thing I want them to think is that we're trying to scam welfare or something stupid like that.  So programs are pretty much out.  Whee.


I'm a bit distraught.  He had another fit yesterday and while I went into the kids' school to pick them up he just... took off.  He came back a few hours later but he left the car on, unlocked, and running for the 20+ minutes that I was gone.  In the middle of a city area where there is INSANE amounts of car and property theft.  My laptop was in it too which I take with me everywhere cos it has everything on it including novels I've written and just etc.  And then last night someone tried to break into our apartment at 10 PM.  Maybe it was just a drunk person but it freaked me out.  Not a good day.  He really should be an inpatient but if he gets to be one here, and I have to move, then I can't even visit him - and they JUST let him out after him being there for a few months - if he had to go back already they'd just, like, keep him there.  And I can't stay here by myself with the kids, it's too dangerous.  Maybe we can move to Florida first and then see about treatment options... but we have to make it there first.  And he's in the middle of treatment to see if the growth he has on his chest is cancerous or benign, they just did a biopsy yesterday morning.  Not only are brain lesions an issue now he might have some sort of chest tumor as well.  But they don't have any appointments open to him until the end of May.  URGH.


Not to mention they turned us away from FOUR urgent care clinics when my son smashed his head open, telling us to go to the emergency room instead.  I told them we couldn't AFFORD to but they said medical care is important so just go.  No, you don't understand, we can't.  DH just bandaged him up himself (he has training, so he's not inept or anything, and he's treated a lot worse injuries... but we still wanted him to have "proper" medical care in case someone got nosy about whether we got treatment for him or not - plus, I mean, DH isn't a doctor, and didn't have the right supplies, and whatever).  He's doing fine now (it's been a few days) but it's going to leave a big scar and it just sucks that we were in the medical offices, MULTIPLE ones, and they wouldn't see a crying, bleeding little boy because we couldn't afford to be passed on to the emergency room.  I asked them WHY not, and they said policy was that in someone "so young" is for everyone to be seen at the children's hospital emergency room.  Really, for a cut??  They're like, "they have good financial plans, you can pay just a few hundred dollars a month for a while until you pay it off." Oh, yeah, a few hundred dollars, that's NOTHING.


Pity party over.


ETA:  I've been trying to contact people for estimates on how we can get the house in order.  My biggest concerns are the garage door ($1000), painting (this is going to suck and will be expensive), the chimney (??? a LOT), the flooring (already have people for them too - $500), cleaning (a few hundred maybe for top to bottom), packing things up, and the yardwork (again very expensive cos we have a mess of a yard both front and back).  There is also a crack in the driveway but I don't care about that right now...  I can't think of anything else.  We were going to get a new furnace but whatever, not now, that'd be a few more thousand.  And general handiwork stuff - like the holes in the walls where the kids pulled the curtain rods down... It's going to be a pretty chunk of change.  I'm trying to see if we can get the VA to help us break our lease here in the apartment - it's not up until next March and there's no way we can stay there that long.

Edited by seawitch - 4/29/11 at 6:49am
post #34 of 44

I still say you don't need to fix up the house to sell. It's called selling as is. Yes, you may end up getting less because of it but with all you're dealing with right now, it sounds like it's not worth the hassle. 

post #35 of 44
Originally Posted by HeatherAtHome View Post

I still say you don't need to fix up the house to sell. It's called selling as is. Yes, you may end up getting less because of it but with all you're dealing with right now, it sounds like it's not worth the hassle. 

good advice.


OP-  I used to be in the real estate business and dealt with a lot of estate settlements, divorces and other situations where houses were left in less then perfect order.   What you describe doesn't sound that bad at all - paint and holes from curtain rods are cosmetic and easy fixes for a buyer.  As far as major items like furnaces, they are expected to have useful lives.  As long as the furnance is operating, that is good enough for the average real estate transaction.   If it isn't operating, well, that is disclosed when the house is listed and priced accordingly.  Houses are sold "as is" all the time.  Another thing to consider is you likely won't get dollar for dollar back on the improvements so it might be good to just cut your losses and move on if selling it is a good option.




post #36 of 44
Originally Posted by MagnoliaDragon View Post

---The last thing I want them to think is that we're trying to scam welfare or something stupid like that.  So programs are pretty much out.  Whee.

Assumptions!  Keep asking mama, don't give up!


Go to the WIC office ASAP.  That will free  up $100/mo for other things.  They can also direct you to other social services.

post #37 of 44

I couldn't read and not respond.  Everyone else has already said anything useful that I thought to type, but I just wanted you to know that I am praying for you and your family.  It sounds like you've been to hell and back - you sound like an amazing, strong woman and the only thing I'm wondering is...are you able to take a minute now and then for just you?  Even if it's a cup of coffee before everyone wakes up in the morning, I hope you get a moment for you now and then.  Peace, mama.

post #38 of 44


Originally Posted by Caneel View Post

good advice.


OP-  I used to be in the real estate business and dealt with a lot of estate settlements, divorces and other situations where houses were left in less then perfect order.   What you describe doesn't sound that bad at all - paint and holes from curtain rods are cosmetic and easy fixes for a buyer.  As far as major items like furnaces, they are expected to have useful lives.  As long as the furnance is operating, that is good enough for the average real estate transaction.   If it isn't operating, well, that is disclosed when the house is listed and priced accordingly.  Houses are sold "as is" all the time.  Another thing to consider is you likely won't get dollar for dollar back on the improvements so it might be good to just cut your losses and move on if selling it is a good option.




ESPECIALLY since you are putting money into the house in terms of utilities and taxes, and it's keeping you from accessing programs you need. Every day you own this house is costing you money, isn't it? If you could buy someplace where you need to be, then, if I read correctly, it WON'T count against you because it's your residence.


When we purchased our home, it had many of the problems you describe, and we considered lots of homes in even worse shape. We've replaced the furnace, some of the flooring, and are working on the yard. Our seller included a carpet allowance to make it more attractive - you might talk to a real estate agent about including some allowances to entire buyers, but I think getting it off your hands might be an excellent thing.


post #39 of 44
Hugs mama! My dh is on disability from military injuries. We are still waiting for a decision from the VA to change his rating form 60% to 100%. It has been over 6 months so far but we are working with an advocate who knows the ins and outs of the system and says there is a good chance we will get the change we want. I hope you can find an advocate as it is the only way we even thought it possible to challenge the VA. I will say that things have been way better as my dh used to live on pain meds to just move and now he doesn't take them anymore. When he was on them it would make him act distant and it hurt so much and now that he found that reishi and turkey tail mushrooms have the same effect on his pain, he can get the relief and still be a loving husband and parent. Not sure if this info can help you OP, but perhaps someone!
post #40 of 44
Thread Starter 
We are working with an advocate although I daresay the man is as ineffective as can be. We had a great one back in CT but the one out here likes to talk talk talk about how useful he is and never gets a thing done.

As of two nights ago H is in the hospital again as an inpatient; his social worker said he might be out in 7-10 days. I dunno. I'm trying to go see him today but the boy woke up with a cold so if I can't take him to preschool I won't be able to talk to him until Monday. And if i can't take him or the girl to school Monday, yikes... Mon and Tues while they're gone is all the time I have left to pack up the apartment and sell everything that doesn't fit into one moving pod by Weds, as that's moving day.

Anyway, that's the update.
Edited by seawitch - 5/6/11 at 7:43pm
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