Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Red Tape Begins

Tomorrow morning Billy has an appointment at the Social Security office, and I really don't know what to expect. I applied for him to have disability benefits months ago, and I feel pretty certain he will be denied. Back in July, I consulted with an attorney who specializes in assisting folks with Medicaid benefits. He's been helpful in telling me the steps to take in order to get Billy qualified, and without his guidance I would be lost in the red tape. The attorney told me he will most likely be denied, and then we go from there. I don't know for sure where we go, but he will let me know.

Most of the school districts in Texas do not pay social security for their employees; we have our retirement through the Teacher Retirement System. Because Billy had taught for 15 years without paying SS, he most likely will not qualify for those benefits, even though he paid many quarters before teaching. My goal is to plan ahead, so that when the time comes, he will have Medicaid to assist with either in-home care or a facility. The word "facility" makes me feel a tiny bit better than "nursing home," but the reality is that most AD patients end up in nursing homes. I do believe more people are doing their best to keep the loved ones at home, but it is an overwhelming responsibility, and I honestly don't know what we will do when faced with the issue. The cost of a nursing home is between $2500 and $4500 per month.

I recommend to anyone in their 50s - take out long term care insurance now. The older we get, the more expensive the premiums, and our children will need the financial help. Because Billy was already on medications for dementia, he was unable to get LTC insurance when we applied four years ago. I am so thankful he has a small retirement annuity and that the Teacher Retirement System has good insurance. However, the daycare cost is very expensive. At the moment, since we are living with my sister and her family, I am able to keep him where he is. When you have a moment, take a look at . We call it the Cottage, and it is as beautiful as the pictures appear. The caretakers are patient, kind, and compassionate. It has no appearance of a nursing home. At lunch, everyone eats family style at the dining room table with china and crystal. They have an exercise time in the morning, a craft time after lunch, and sometimes they watch a movie together. Billy tells them that he does not do crafts, but he usually goes with the group "just to watch," and he always ends up making whatever the others are making. He usually plays dominoes in the afternoons before I arrive. Billy really does enjoy spending his time there, and he feel secure when he's there. That makes it worth the cost...knowing that he is happy, and he has some socialization. Human interaction helps keep the delusions at bay - a little anyway.

I pray that I will have clear guidance in making decisions when the time comes. Please pray that we are able to get assistance and can find a way to keep Billy either at home, or that we find a place that gives us peace. I don't know how far away we are from these decisions, and I am not in a hurry to make them. But I can't bury my head in the sand and ignore the need to plan. In the meantime, we live in the moment, and the moment is calm. Praise Him from whom all blessings flow.

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