Providing Financial Help For Your Elderly Parents

Providing Financial Help For Your Elderly Parents

It seems that the “sandwich generation” – adults with a living parent over 65 who either support a grown child or raise a child under 18 – have a lot to think about as 30% of them is providing financial support to their elderly parents while almost 40% of them have both a grown child and parent depending on them for financial and emotional support, reveals a Pew Research Center report.

At times when most Americans are struggling to support themselves, it only adds stress in your life to know that you need to find a way to provide for your parents who are financially disabled. However, is handing over cash the only solution? You are about to find out that there are often wiser options.

Access Government Assistance

There are several federal, state, and local government programs that can help you make ends meet and support your elderly parents financially. In most cases, you may also apply online without having to fill out a pile of forms.

Start by visiting Benefits.gov and BenefitsCheckUp. For the first site, you will need to gather all information required about your elderly parents’ income, health, education level, assets, and more. Then, you submit your answers through the website, and you will automatically be provided with a list of government programs, services, and supplements, as well as how eligible you are for each program. Do the same with the second website, which could report additional programs for your case.

The programs you could consider are:

Medicare – If your parent is older than 65, is considered low income, and collects Social Security, Medicare (Part A, Part B, and Part D) may subsidize prescription drug coverage and insurance premiums (except for around $10 of the monthly premiums).

Social Security – If your parents’ Social Security is their only source of income, and provided that their benefits were earned based on lower-paying jobs, they may apply for the Supplemental Security Income program.

Administration on Aging – The organization administers several programs and services for elderly people, including legal assistance, help with long-term care, and health insurance counselling. You will find a comprehensive list of aging advocates and services providers, among others.

Your US Senator and Congressional Representative – Every senator and almost every representative in the US Congress has a staff specialist on older affairs, services, and programs, who can advocate (also provide counselling services) for services or benefits for your parents. Visit  United States Senate and/or the United states House of Representatives websites and click the senators and representatives by state link respectively.

Other programs worth checking out are the US Department of Veteran Affairs (if your elderly parent is a military veteran with a disability related to the service), the US Department of Justice (if your parent has a disability) to know more about the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Area Agency on Aging, who will help you find more available resources in your area and programs/services for the elderly citizens.

Offer Them Private Reverse Mortgage

A private reverse mortgage is a secured loan from you to your elderly parents. When the parent dies, the house is sold to pay back the loan, and can provide your parents with a line of credit, monthly income, or cash in a lump sum. For this option to be viable, it is important your parents have significant equity in the home. Have an estate-planning attorney write up the reverse mortgage and record it with the Registry of Deeds in the county your parents reside, to make sure you receive money from selling the home after their dealt, instead of other heirs or creditors.

Pay Their Recurring Bills

If you can’t take over all their bills, which is a bit difficult for most people, you can take care of their recurring bills (i.e. utility and/or health insurance bills). You simply charge them on a monthly basis (this also eliminates the humiliation parents usually feel to constantly have to ask for money).

Introduce Them to New Streams of Income

Been provided with easy ways to make some extra cash is one of the great things that happen in today’s American marketplace. Your parents could consider becoming Uber drivers (depending on how mobile they are, of course), offer guests accommodations in their home via Airbnb, or watch people’s pets by signing up with Rover. You will be surprised what a little research on gig economy can give you. Plus, you could also ask around for jobs that hire older workers.

Offer To Help Them Downsize

If your parents have assets that could be used to reduce their debt, you can offer them to sell off some of their possessions or move into a smaller home. Although not a very attractive option (we all know how difficult it is to part with material possessions you have worked hard to earn), it is important to downsize for your parents’ quality of life to improve. After all, we make investment so that they can provide us with financial padding when things go south financially.

See If You Can Make Them Fit Into Your Own Life

If you can, add an in-law apartment to your home. This will allow your elderly parents to have both the assistance from family and some independence and privacy at the same time. Plus, you will probably be able to claim your parents as dependents as they will be living on your property and you will be paying for the food and housing. Finally, if your parents have assets, you may ask them to transfer those to you in the form of rent, which will improve their own chances of qualifying for Medicaid and other means-tested programs.

Last, but not least, it is crucial you provide emotional support. Understand that it is very difficult for your parents to ask for money and refrain from judging them, even if they have not always been the most responsible individuals financially. Make sure know they are not alone in this and that they can always depend on your support, be it emotional or financial. Luckily, with the resources mentioned above, you will be able to gain access to increased income and services for your aging parents while reducing your stress.

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