How can I get help for my financially struggling in laws?

3 answers | Last updated: Oct 04, 2016
Kellycorn asked...

How can I get help for my financially struggling in laws? My in laws, both in their 70's have health issues that prevent them from doing much. They only receive $2000 monthly SS, and their bills (medical, prescription plan, housing etc) exceed this amount. Are there any programs that we can turn to to try and offset some of the costs? I don't have the ability to help them financially but if there is anything I can do to alleviate their financial worries, I'd like to try it. Please point me in the right direction.


Expert Answers

Barbara Steinberg is the CEO and founder of BLS Eldercare Financial Solutions, which specializes in helping families pay for long-term care for their loved ones. A registered financial gerontologist, she speaks regularly on the topic of paying for long-term care and is a financial expert for Caring.com.

Your in-laws' situation is common today. Many seniors struggle to make ends meet with Social Security alone. They may be able to take advantage of one or more government programs. 1. Local programs such as Meals-on-Wheels or county homebound services. 2. Some states have prescription drug plans for low income seniors. These can dramatically reduce the cost of subscriptions. If your in-laws' state does not have a plan, you can check their existing plan with a local pharmacist who can determine if there is a more suitable plan based on the medications they take. 3. If one or both of your in-laws are veterans, they may be eligible for a VA pension benefit. This is a cash benefit that provides up to $1,949/mo. Eligibility is based on military service and income. The veteran needs to have served at least 90 days on active duty and one day during wartime. Medical expenses for long term care, e.g. home health aide, and health insurance premiums can offset their income to make them eligible for this cash benefit. 4. Depending on which state your in-laws live in, Medicaid may pay for home care services. The maximum number of hours of care provided is determined by the state. The actual number of hours of care provided is determined by an assessment from a Medicaid representative, usually a nurse. 5. If your in-laws own their home and have sufficient equity, they can take out a reverse mortgage. This enables them to tap the equity in their house and not have to make any payments until they either move out or both pass away. During the last couple of years, the closing fees for reverse mortgages have some down substantially. 6. If your in-laws are renters, they may be able to move to senior housing in their area. These subsidized apartments are designed for seniors with modest incomes. Some offer a variety of services, e.g. meals, light housekeeping, to those people who need assistance. 7. If they need more assistance, there are assisted living facilities that accept Medicaid recipients. However, these facilities are only in certain states and usually there are only a few.


Community Answers

Kellycorn answered...

Barbara, Thank you so much for your input I will follow up on these leads. I appreciate you answering me so quickly. My father-in-law is a veteran so that maybe an area to follow up on. They live in Florida, and although they own a home it still is mortgaged (they had to refinance a few years back to cover mounting medical bills)and with the downturn in property values they currently owe more than it is appraised for. Hopefully some of these items will help...


Solveig answered...

If they are "Upside down" in their home mortgage payments, they should definitely walk away from the home. Real Estate is not likely to go up for a while and being in "senior housing" could relieve the financial pressure on them.