How can I get my mother the help she needs?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 12, 2013
Scared for my mom asked...

How can I help my mom. who  is disabled from pollio in the right arm?  Her left arm has a fully torn rotator cuff from overuse.  She's a senior (59), has cancer and is undergoing chemo.  She has straight medical and no one will help us. She needs a low income housing as well . This situation brings tears to my eyes every day.  Can anyone help?  She was also denied Medicare.   She can barely do daily tasks and I am scared for my mom.

Expert Answers

There are several government programs your mother might turn to. The first is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). If your mother has worked outside the home for periods of time during her lifetime, even if she made very little money, she might qualify for monthly SSDI benefits. If she has worked enough to qualify, whether she'd be entitled to disability benefits would depend on the extent that her physical condition prevents her from doing any paid work. SSDI would consider her disabled only if she isn't able to perform what Social Security calls "substantial gainful activity." In 2008, that means that if she is able to work and earn $940 a month or more, she is not technically "disabled." To find out more about how this rule works, take a look at the Social Security Administration web page Overview of Our Disability Programs.

If and when your mother qualifies for Social Security Disability benefits, she would become eligible for all Medicare programs after receiving those disability benefits for two years (when she'd be 61; otherwise, she wouldn't be eligible for Medicare until age 65).

Your mother might be eligible for the Medicaid health care program immediately. In order to be eligible for Medicaid, she must have very low income and few assets (other than her house and car). It would be easier for her to qualify for Medicaid if she has frequent high medical bills. The exact rules regarding income and assets vary from state to state. To find out what the rules are in your state, and to learn where to apply, go online to any search engine and enter the word Medicaid and the name of your state. Or, you can call the Eldercare Locator toll-free at 800-677-1116.