Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The medicaide application is IN! Now we wait....

I submitted an application for Medicaide (State assistance) on Mom's behalf  today.   This means we've exhausted her existing cash resources and we are asking the state to contribute to her rent/care at the assisted living center.    Before compiling all the relevant paperwork I tried for four months to get some information from the State of Idaho about a couple of things but I got know where.   We have an odd situation concerning Mom's property - which I'll save for another post - so I wanted to understand what the state would do.  Starting 4 months ago, I began emailing, calling and contacting friends who work for the Idaho Dept of Health and Welfare.  I got little information other than a standard reply, "we must consult our manuals and get back to you".  Well, I heard nothing until I bugged just the right person and got a number for a "customer service center".  They  readily found someone who could actually answer my questions.  I called them three times to see if I'd get a consistent answer.  I did so figured it was safe to submit the application.

I'm not trying to "game" the system but I needed to understand how the State would approach some jointly held property and just what evidence the state wants to see regarding taxes and assessed values.   I felt pretty good after submitting an 1 inch thick packet of material, that is until I spoke with the Director at her ALF.  My mood quickly soured.  She told me some not-so-good stories about applications getting lost, delayed more than 60 days and in general, made me concerned.  I kept copies of everything so I can resubmit the materials if necessary but I'm just worried about paying for her care until Medicaide kicks in.  We worked out a plan to use Mom's Social Security and pension plus some funds from me for the time being but I can't contribute much for long.   So - I'm left waiting again.  At least I have a short-term plan until we know more.

I must admit to having qualms about being so open that Mom's applied for state assistance.  On one hand, she's proud and I'm proud; I hate to admit that she's broke.  On the other hand, she's never taken a dime from anyone else and my parents worked hard to provide for themselves, their parents, their kids and other extended family.   Often they went without and lived simply.  They never let anyone go without food, shelter and the basics even when it meant they didn't save a thing.  In her old age, she's paying for that "take care of your own" attitude.   What's worse, to let many go without years earlier or have one person accept some help now?

This is by no means a free ride.  The state will ensure that she contributes all she can (social security and pension) and will permit her to keep $90 a month for her personal needs.  She's spent just about that much on hair appointments and minor things each month.  It's not a lot so I'll have to supplement for things like clothes, shoes, treats or soda pop.  I'm happy to do that for her; it's relatively little money and if it makes her happy then it's worth it.    Her sacrifice years ago meant that I and our family had what we needed so now we can give up some to ensure she's comfortable.