Thursday, May 18, 2017

Adult Family Home Owners: Do They Spend Wisely?

Adult family home owners, all in all, are a hardworking lot.  They provide care for the frail elderly in Washington, Oregon and elsewhere, at a lower price than nursing homes charge.

The following conversation between Tina, an adult family home provider, and a state social worker, caught me off guard.

"You're  making so much money you ought to share with the neighbors," the social worker said. 

Tina knew from his tone of voice he wasn't kidding.  Did he really want her to give away much of the money she made to people who hadn't worked for it?

The social worker was talking about the money .the state paid Tina for one resident's care.  It was $3000 a month.  From that amount Tina covers taxes, insurance, food, employee wages, home maintenance and more.

"I went to college for eight years,"  the social worker said.  "How about you?"

 Tina hadn't gone to  college. But she had learned the business from the school of hard knocks.  She sleeps with her cell phone by her bed, in case of emergency. Her home isn't extravagant, but it is clean, comfortable and light-filled. Her private pay rates are lower than many charge. She pays her caregivers more than the minimum, and she does things that money can't buy. 

"Rose, one of my residents, no longer recognizes her son.  But she knows me, and the caregivers.  We are Rose's family.  The money we make here is only part of the story.  At the end of the day we try to make the residents and families we serve have a better life."

Does she need to share her money with those who didn't work for it?  I don't think so. 





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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Low Income Senior Housing: How it Works, Where to Go

If your parent needs low-income housing, you need to know the rules.  What determines whether your parent qualifies?   Various communities have different income limits, but they're generally based on a percentage of the average income in the area.  For example in King County, where Seattle is located, the average income is $90,300.  Low-income senior housing apartments will have an income limit of not more than $37,980.  Some communities have a much lower income cap.

How it works: What determines your parent's annual income?  It's the total of the monthly Social Security, pensions and other benefits.  Assets need to be factored in, as well, as anticipated income.  For years, HUD has had a formula for figuring the income an asset could bring if it were liquidated.  That number is 2 percent.

For example, if your parent has an asset worth $200,000, the anticipated income off of that asset would be 4 percent or $8,000.  You would add $8,000 to your parent's other income.  The total must fall below the community's income cap.

Where to go: 

Your senior center is a good place to start.  Most low income senior apartments also have a website.
 
When you call individual communities, ask their income limit (including 2 percent of assets), their approximate waiting list length and of course, pricing. 

I would encourage you to join multiple lists, even if they seem long.  When an opening occurs, the manager calls down the waiting list until someone is ready to move in.  Often people high on the waiting list aren't ready to move yet.
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