Dad

  1. I need help to help my Dad and Mom.
    My Dad isn't able to work anymore - Heart failure, etc. (he's only 60). Anyways, he's worked as a school custodian. He was given misinformation about how & what to apply for - initially the school secretary gave him information to fill out to apply for disability through the school. Well, of course that was incorrect information, but finds that out by the denial he received in the mail.
    Does anyone know how or whom they should speak with to figure out what needs to be done? They're wondering how and if they can keep his insurance via "cobra" if he goes on disability or only if he does early retirement. At 60 does he even have a choice? I thought you had to be at least 62 for early retirement. I told them they should call the insurance company to find out what was up with that. My Mom is so worried she's afraid to trust people. She's afraid she will be given the wrong information and then will lose the potential insurance coverage.
    Anyways, I don't know what they should do. I spoke to our social worker at work (the hospital I work at) and she didn't know exactly what to do, or what it would mean regarding health insurance.
    Does anyone have any recommendations?
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   rncountry
    I think I may be able to offer a bit of advice. I recently went through all of this with my parents.
    First if he has insurance through the school he can keep it through COBRA. It is expensive, at least my parents was. Next go to SS and file for disablity. It takes a bit and there are many records required by the agency, but if all the appropriate paperwork is done to start with than the process is quicker. The people at SS will give you everything that you need. Ask specific questions so they can help you are much as possible.
    Once disability is given it takes 2 years for medicare to kick in. I didn't know that and it has caused some problems. I don't know what state you are in but in Michigan Blue Cross and Blue Shield are required to take patients with disability, but there are guidelines. One is that you must maintain the COBRA insurance until it runs out and then apply the month that happens. For my parents that will be in Feb. I believe we can manage until that point.
    The past year has been tough, don't expect it to be easy or that everyone gives the correct information. I found out the hard way they don't. We have applied for help through the county, a program run by the state, but done through the counties. My mom is convinced it is welfare and is pretty angry about it. It isn't welfare, and the county people are not used to dealing with the program yet and many mistakes have been made. I think finally we are on the right road though. Took my sister going down and having a going to Jesus meeting with someone though. Your state may have something through the county as well.
    But if your dad can't work the best bet is to start the SS disability paperwork quickly. Seems to me someone told my dad he couldn't file until he hadn't worked for 6 months or something like that, but then we found out that because it was diabetes related that time frame was voided. So if he has an underlying disease process that prompted the heart failure make sure you tell the SS agency that.
    Good luck, I hope I helped some. I know the last year has been real hard on my parents and my extension myself.
  4. by   kimberle
    Thank you!
    I'm in Michigan!
    So, you can continue with Cobra and still get disability? I think that is my parents' main concern. They were wondering if they got disability if they could even have the option of Cobra. And my Mom said she heard you can only do the Cobra for 18 months. Is that true?
    Thank you for such a prompt response. I just didn't even know where to begin. I knew I couldn't be the only one in this world experiencing this.
  5. by   Robin61970
    I don't know much about all of this, but I did a search and found a few websites that you may find some information on so here they are......

    http://www.umich.edu/~benefits/events/disabled.htm
    http://www.michigan.gov/fia/0,1607,7...453---,00.html
    http://www.disabilityresources.org/MICHIGAN.html

    Good luck to you and your family.......
  6. by   rncountry
    Your in Michigan! Finally had a nice day today, thought old man winter was already here!
    Yes, COBRA is for 18 months, but like I said after COBRA runs out they are eligible to go to Blue Cross and Blue Shield. They have a variety of plans to pick from, just call them and they will send the information. For my parents, even if they opt for the best plan, and it is good, it will be about $450 less a month then they are currently paying with COBRA. My husband and I have been helping them maintain COBRA because they cannot afford to go without insurance, and if you let the COBRA lapse than Blue Cross does not have to pick them up.
    Also check the county and see if they are eligible for any programs. My ex MIL is on a spend down program so that once she spends so much on meds any further meds are paid for. That is what I am hoping to get for my parents. It isn't alot of help, but it is some and it does take some of the worry out of things. We are still in the process of the proper paperwork, but finally have things moving the right direction.
    The biggest issue for my parents was the cost of COBRA on a disablity check. However, not all COBRA programs are as expensive as theirs to maintain.
    I'm glad I could help. I would never had known to have my parents apply for Blue Cross had it not been for someone at work who deals with this stuff regularly. I was stressing bad about it, and she was a Godsend to me.
    Hope things work out ok.
  7. by   renerian
    Good post kimberly.

    renerian
  8. by   rebelwaclause
    Originally posted by kimberle
    initially the school secretary gave him information to fill out to apply for disability through the school. Well, of course that was incorrect information, but finds that out by the denial he received in the mail.
    Is he retired or a currently active employee? Was he injured on the job making this a worker's comp case? What exactly does the denial letter say?

    Hoolahan and Vegas are case managers and can help you on this one (Not to imply no one else has or can! )

    ....Hold on, I'll get them.
    Last edit by rebelwaclause on Nov 9, '02
  9. by   hoolahan
    Thanks for the plug rebel, but I think rncounrty covered it all well, plus, it was specific to Michigan!! Small world huh?

    Only think I could possibly add is to find out about the county resources call your local dept of aging. My county puts out a booklet of all the services available in the county to assist seniors and the disabled. For example Meals on wheels, etc.

    There is also a program here for prescriptions, you of course have to meet financial eligibility criteria, it is called PAAD, Pharmaceutical Assistance for the Aged and Disabled. It is so that eligible seniors may obtain their meds for low cost or free, sounds like what rncountry is describing, but to be honest, not sure if it is a spend down program.

    Good Luck!
  10. by   JonRN
    If he is unable to work, he may be eligible for Social Security Disability. You should check at the nearest SS Ofc. for info. I think he would be eligible for medicare then no matter what his age, but you mom would need ins. Please keep us updated on this.
  11. by   LasVegasRN
    Don't have anything else to add from above. Keep us updated and we'll help where we can!
  12. by   emily_mom
    We also went through this when my Mom was dying of pancreatic cancer (at age 53!!). We were not able to apply for help through the state until she had been off of work for 6 months. My father carried the health insurance. She was denied the first time (and I heard a great majority are). DON'T BE DISCOURAGED IF YOU GET DENIED. Reapply and you are usually accepted. We didn't receive our first check until 2 days after we buried my Mom, which we had to send back. They are poky...

    I wish you luck...I hate dealing with the state.
  13. by   kimberle
    Thanks everybody - I feel like you guys have given me some direction in this foreign territory - I'll let you know how it goes!

    rebelwaclause: He has heart failure (25% ejection fraction) - idiopathic cardiomyopathy () Of all people - he's always been a very active person-both in his job and his home life. It sucks.

    Anyways, thanks again for all your support!

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