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My bonus dropped this morning


Dottles
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It usually happens early morning out here between 1 a.m. and 2.  I was very excited to get it because in the first time in awhile most of it was unaccounted for.  Golly.  It's like a real bonus.  But unfortunately my mood was held in check when I got a call earlier from my two sisters who are sitting on probably a $500,000 house in their name and they're on limited state income and are having troubles making ends meet.  It's a long story but they can't afford the taxes and everything else that comes along with home ownership.  And one sister has a prosthetic leg.  Naturally they're seeking me to fix it or them -- but I can't.  I'm doing my best to keep my own ship afloat.  It's going to end badly for them.  I've talked about them here before and it'd take another forum or two to post how out of control thier lives and predicament are -- and honestly -- screw them.  They always seem to call me when I'm enjoying myself or feeling good about things.  It's uncanny. Like some fucking counterbalance that tries to bring me down.  They never gave any thought to their own end game and now sadly I'm afraid they're going to have to live in it.  Things are going to get rough.  Even though I don't have much compassion for them -- they are my elders -- I'm still their brother and in ways I suppose i feel guilty. That might be a strong word but It just makes me angry sometimes that I'm still pulled into this shit show when there's nothing i can do for them.  Like I have a free get out of jail card to play and I can magically remove all their problems.  That's how fucked up they are.  And it also makes me feel strange when my life is running pretty darn well now and conversely it appears I'm going to make my retirement.  I know the answer out there for those taking the time to read this block of text and whom are not emotionally involved is to cut bait and let them drown.  They get what they get.  There really aren't a lot of other options. But as a human being -- and a brother -- that doesn't make it any easier.  Anyway:

 

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I feel for you. Family is still family even when in trouble. My advice is to deliver your best advice and then let it go. Delivery of advice is different than handing over money. 

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4 minutes ago, Airehead said:

I feel for you. Family is still family even when in trouble. My advice is to deliver your best advice and then let it go. Delivery of advice is different than handing over money. 

It's good advice Skeeter. Thank you for responding.

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8 minutes ago, Airehead said:

If you were them, what would you do?  Maybe sell the house and get an apartment?

I may share with you in a private email.  It's involved.  And I just responded to you and had a laptop mishap and my entire response was lost.  More interesting karma!  :)

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1 minute ago, Thaddeus Kosciuszko said:

Being family means you can care, but it doesn't make you responsible when the adult members of your family make their own choices that turn out badly for them - especially when you've advised them against those choices.

Do not feel guilty

Especially do not feel guilty when members of your family live their live following the principles of 'Management by Crisis' where they float from crisis to crisis, never learning, never fixing, never improving - doing just enough to get out of the current scrape until it's time to panic when the next long-foreseeable, easily-avoidable disaster engulfs them, and it's 'not their fault'.

Been there, done that.  Not doing it anymore.  I get the panic calls, too, for innumerable circumstances where had my advice been followed no crisis would have occurred.  I offer my best advice with little expectation it will be used, since it had rarely been followed before.  Since they don't heed my advice it shows I have no control and no influence over how family members live their lives, and that makes them totally responsible for themselves.

I no longer throw money at the problem.  I no longer go running when the pipes freeze, because the last time I did I found they tore out the insulation I bought (because they live hand to mouth) so they could open the basement window 'just because',  and never fully closed the window.

You can care, you can love you family, you can offer the best advice you can devise.  But if you keep coming to the 'rescue', you will only lose. 

It's another thing if your family members work to change and you can see progress. 

But you should never let their poor choices make your life worse, or more difficult, or sway you from the goals you have set in life for yourself.

 

This is a post worth its weight in gold. 

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3 minutes ago, Thaddeus Kosciuszko said:

Being family means you can care, but it doesn't make you responsible when the adult members of your family make their own choices that turn out badly for them - especially when you've advised them against those choices.

Do not feel guilty

Especially do not feel guilty when members of your family live their live following the principles of 'Management by Crisis' where they float from crisis to crisis, never learning, never fixing, never improving - doing just enough to get out of the current scrape until it's time to panic when the next long-foreseeable, easily-avoidable disaster engulfs them, and it's 'not their fault'.

Been there, done that.  Not doing it anymore.  I get the panic calls, too, for innumerable circumstances where had my advice been followed no crisis would have occurred.  I offer my best advice with little expectation it will be used, since it had rarely been followed before.  Since they don't heed my advice it shows I have no control and no influence over how family members live their lives, and that makes them totally responsible for themselves.

I no longer throw money at the problem.  I no longer go running when the pipes freeze, because the last time I did I found they tore out the insulation I bought (because they live hand to mouth) so they could open the basement window 'just because',  and never fully closed the window.

You can care, you can love you family, you can offer the best advice you can devise.  But if you keep coming to the 'rescue', you will only lose. 

It's another thing if your family members work to change and you can see progress. 

But you should never let their poor choices make your life worse, or more difficult, or sway you from the goals you have set in life for yourself.

 

Outstanding.  This is it in a nutshell.  Thank you.

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1 hour ago, Thaddeus Kosciuszko said:

Being family means you can care, but it doesn't make you responsible when the adult members of your family make their own choices that turn out badly for them - especially when you've advised them against those choices.

Do not feel guilty

Especially do not feel guilty when members of your family live their live following the principles of 'Management by Crisis' where they float from crisis to crisis, never learning, never fixing, never improving - doing just enough to get out of the current scrape until it's time to panic when the next long-foreseeable, easily-avoidable disaster engulfs them, and it's 'not their fault'.

Been there, done that.  Not doing it anymore.  I get the panic calls, too, for innumerable circumstances where had my advice been followed no crisis would have occurred.  I offer my best advice with little expectation it will be used, since it had rarely been followed before.  Since they don't heed my advice it shows I have no control and no influence over how family members live their lives, and that makes them totally responsible for themselves.

I no longer throw money at the problem.  I no longer go running when the pipes freeze, because the last time I did I found they tore out the insulation I bought (because they live hand to mouth) so they could open the basement window 'just because',  and never fully closed the window.

You can care, you can love you family, you can offer the best advice you can devise.  But if you keep coming to the 'rescue', you will only lose. 

It's another thing if your family members work to change and you can see progress. 

But you should never let their poor choices make your life worse, or more difficult, or sway you from the goals you have set in life for yourself.

 

Cliff Notes Version.  A failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.

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1 hour ago, Thaddeus Kosciuszko said:

Being family means you can care, but it doesn't make you responsible when the adult members of your family make their own choices that turn out badly for them - especially when you've advised them against those choices.

Do not feel guilty

Especially do not feel guilty when members of your family live their live following the principles of 'Management by Crisis' where they float from crisis to crisis, never learning, never fixing, never improving - doing just enough to get out of the current scrape until it's time to panic when the next long-foreseeable, easily-avoidable disaster engulfs them, and it's 'not their fault'.

Been there, done that.  Not doing it anymore.  I get the panic calls, too, for innumerable circumstances where had my advice been followed no crisis would have occurred.  I offer my best advice with little expectation it will be used, since it had rarely been followed before.  Since they don't heed my advice it shows I have no control and no influence over how family members live their lives, and that makes them totally responsible for themselves.

I no longer throw money at the problem.  I no longer go running when the pipes freeze, because the last time I did I found they tore out the insulation I bought (because they live hand to mouth) so they could open the basement window 'just because',  and never fully closed the window.

You can care, you can love you family, you can offer the best advice you can devise.  But if you keep coming to the 'rescue', you will only lose. 

It's another thing if your family members work to change and you can see progress. 

But you should never let their poor choices make your life worse, or more difficult, or sway you from the goals you have set in life for yourself.

 

Sounds like my MIL.  She knows my wife & SIL will pump more money into her account so why worry about spending.

Its really tough to cut off family but if they put themselves in their situation others helping them won’t fix their problems. They have to do it themselves.

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I'm sorry you have to deal with this.  Even when there isn't anything you can do, it's still emotionally hard.  And the more you try to do things for them, the less incentive they have to do things to help themselves.  But that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt.

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4 hours ago, Dottles said:

...from my two sisters who are sitting on probably a $500,000 house in their name and they're on limited state income and are having troubles making ends meet.  It's a long story but they can't afford the taxes and everything else that comes along with home ownership. 

...FWIW. on this specific issue, most places (not all, but many of them) have specific laws on the books that prevent the seizure of a home and the eviction of the the owner who is on state assistance and has limited resources that qualify them for this assistance.  And in fact, the value of the residence is excluded from the evaluation of those resources, when considering whether this state or federal assistance ought to be paid in the first place.

It's not a unique problem.  Back in the good ol' days when I were a bureaucrat, we kicked people off their federal SSI benefits for owning a home in which they no longer lived.  AS soon as they moved out, it got added into their "resource pool", and it was always enough to terminate their benefit eligibility, even in a rural backwater like LaFolllette, TN.

 

So a lot of it depends on the current ownership documents (whose name is on the deed ?), but generally speaking, most places will just put a lien on the property for all the back taxes, payable in the event of sale or change of ownership, rather than throw your sisters out on the street. If it will make you feel better about this (they are your sisters, after all), check what the law is for the locale.  I presume that maybe this is the house they inherited, and you have more or less walked away from any interest in it.  But I don't know that for sure.

Anyway, in most places in the United States, this is how it works.  The registered owner of a house who is on public assistance does not get booted because they fall behind in taxes.  But it's not universal.

 

The rest of the current home expenses, like utilities, are not nearly as forgiving.

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Sitting on  a $500,000 house and can't pay their bills?  That's a dichotomy.  and SOOOO not your problem.

Pay their bills, they'll make more.

Hang in there, you can't fix everything for everybody.  Money certainly won't fix this.

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...also, you need to be careful about paying expenses for, or even giving money to people on public assistance. It's usually counted as additional income, and it's usually deducted from the monthly assistance payments if reported. If it comes up again, you should ask this question.  If they've been on public assistance long enough, they already know this.  

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I'm sorry to hear this for your sisters.

Hopefully this doesn't mean loss of their home?  Or maybe it looks awful. :huh:

Keep in touch but in ways that is  to be informed  but them not expecting much from you except a friendly ear at times. I hope you all find certain occasions to celebrate as family during the yr. 

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2 hours ago, Page Turner said:

...FWIW. on this specific issue, most places (not all, but many of them) have specific laws on the books that prevent the seizure of a home and the eviction of the the owner who is on state assistance and has limited resources that qualify them for this assistance.  And in fact, the value of the residence is excluded from the evaluation of those resources, when considering whether this state or federal assistance ought to be paid in the first place.

It's not a unique problem.  Back in the good ol' days when I were a bureaucrat, we kicked people off their federal SSI benefits for owning a home in which they no longer lived.  AS soon as they moved out, it got added into their "resource pool", and it was always enough to terminate their benefit eligibility, even in a rural backwater like LaFolllette, TN.

 

So a lot of it depends on the current ownership documents (whose name is on the deed ?), but generally speaking, most places will just put a lien on the property for all the back taxes, payable in the event of sale or change of ownership, rather than throw your sisters out on the street. If it will make you feel better about this (they are your sisters, after all), check what the law is for the locale.  I presume that maybe this is the house they inherited, and you have more or less walked away from any interest in it.  But I don't know that for sure.

Anyway, in most places in the United States, this is how it works.  The registered owner of a house who is on public assistance does not get booted because they fall behind in taxes.  But it's not universal.

 

The rest of the current home expenses, like utilities, are not nearly as forgiving.

 

2 hours ago, Page Turner said:

...also, you need to be careful about paying expenses for, or even giving money to people on public assistance. It's usually counted as additional income, and it's usually deducted from the monthly assistance payments if reported. If it comes up again, you should ask this question.  If they've been on public assistance long enough, they already know this.  

Great info and I just went through it with my dad. I am not paying them anything. They inherited my father’s house when it was gifted over to them when he went down for long term care. Basically it’s too expensive for them to upkeep on their fixed income. So they are considering selling. But the real estate market is insane and there’s no free lunch.  Basically they want to know what there options are. One sister may need long term care sooner than later so the fear here is to make a mistake. Do they need an elder attorney?  Is there a coach that can help them through this? Who could I contact to get answers for them? Elder Law attorneys are not cheap and they are just looking for advice. They are totally clueless and I’m not much more help in their predicament. 

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23 minutes ago, Dottles said:

 

Great info and I just went through it with my dad. I am not paying them anything. They inherited my father’s house when it was gifted over to them when he went down for long term care. Basically it’s too expensive for them to upkeep on their fixed income. So they are considering selling. But the real estate market is insane and there’s no free lunch.  Basically they want to know what there options are. One sister may need long term care sooner than later so the fear here is to make a mistake. Do they need an elder attorney?  Is there a coach that can help them through this? Who could I contact to get answers for them? Elder Law attorneys are not cheap and they are just looking for advice. They are totally clueless and I’m not much more help in their predicament. 

Start with the Senior Services department in their local county.  County governments provide resources to assist seniors with decisions like this.

 

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14 minutes ago, Dottles said:

 

Great info and I just went through it with my dad. I am not paying them anything. They inherited my father’s house when it was gifted over to them when he went down for long term care. Basically it’s too expensive for them to upkeep on their fixed income. So they are considering selling. But the real estate market is insane and there’s no free lunch.  Basically they want to know what there options are. One sister may need long term care sooner than later so the fear here is to make a mistake. Do they need an elder attorney?  Is there a coach that can help them through this? Who could I contact to get answers for them? Elder Law attorneys are not cheap and they are just looking for advice. They are totally clueless and I’m not much more help in their predicament. 

...they need to be very careful about selling the house, because it will probably get one or both of them kicked off whatever assistance they receive now (which often includes their eligibility for health care and also longer term custodial care.) It's sort of a Catch 22 that is built into the system, and you can't get around it with a reverse mortgage, because any regular payments from that will be counted as "income" in most systems.

I do not know jack about the state assistance systems, only pre 1986 information about the federal SSI system. So I am not a good reference for what's current on any of this.

 

But yes, they (or you) probably do need to consult someone who works as a case worker for whatever aid system supports them currently. That person will know as much (or more) about how a particular decision on where they live and any sale of the house would affect their benefit eligibility.  And if either or both of them loses medical coverage (even temporarily), that can get expensive in a hurry.

I think if it were me, and I did not trust the general decision making and intelligence level of the people I was worried about, I would just find out what kind of assistance they are currently receiving (if they are disabled, or over 65 years of age, it's probably SSI). Then I would write a nice formal letter outlining the circumstances and proposed solutions, asking quite clearly, "If we do this, what will be the ramifications in terms of assistance under your program, etc, etc."  The person who opens your letter and responds to it will not tell you much, unless you are somehow named in the administration of their benefits. So basically you need to get them on board to where they sign the letter.

Letter is best, because you need the answers given in writing, over someone's signature. Then, if they told you the wrong thing, you have some legal recourse for appeal.

If it's SSI, you can make an appointment to talk to someone either in person (or probably on the phone or face time on the computer now), to whom you can propose your hypothetical questions as a warmup, before you write the letter, so you'll know what to address in it. I spent probably 50% of my time in the last couple of years I worked for those fuckers sorting out "misunderstandings" like this.  It is very easy to go astray, and the main thing you need to remember is that no one is your friend, but most of them are trying to give the most accurate information of which they are aware.  Unfortunately, like in any organization, some people do not know enough to be answering the questions they answer.  But the system is set up for them to give you an answer anyway, because that gets you to move along.

Be as friendly as you can, take notes, and always get stuff in writing, over a signature, if you can. Sorry, but I think you have real reason for concern, but at the same time, I'm the smart ex employee who knows the limits of his ability to answer with authority in your circumstances.

Worst case scenario, if you still want to help, is that you have to drive there and go with one of them to whatever office serves their account,  drag them physically into that office, and ask your questions.  But again, do not presume the answers you get are correct without corroborating with at least one other source.

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15 minutes ago, Page Turner said:

...they need to be very careful about selling the house, because it will probably get one or both of them kicked off whatever assistance they receive now (which often includes their eligibility for health care and also longer term custodial care.) It's sort of a Catch 22 that is built into the system, and you can't get around it with a reverse mortgage, because any regular payments from that will be counted as "income" in most systems.

I do not know jack about the state assistance systems, only pre 1986 information about the federal SSI system. So I am not a good reference for what's current on any of this.

 

But yes, they (or you) probably do need to consult someone who works as a case worker for whatever aid system supports them currently. That person will know as much (or more) about how a particular decision on where they live and any sale of the house would affect their benefit eligibility.  And if either or both of them loses medical coverage (even temporarily), that can get expensive in a hurry.

I think if it were me, and I did not trust the general decision making and intelligence level of the people I was worried about, I would just find out what kind of assistance they are currently receiving (if they are disabled, or over 65 years of age, it's probably SSI). Then I would write a nice formal letter outlining the circumstances and proposed solutions, asking quite clearly, "If we do this, what will be the ramifications in terms of assistance under your program, etc, etc."  The person who opens your letter and responds to it will not tell you much, unless you are somehow named in the administration of their benefits. So basically you need to get them on board to where they sign the letter.

Letter is best, because you need the answers given in writing, over someone's signature. Then, if they told you the wrong thing, you have some legal recourse for appeal.

If it's SSI, you can make an appointment to talk to someone either in person (or probably on the phone or face time on the computer now), to whom you can propose your hypothetical questions as a warmup, before you write the letter, so you'll know what to address in it. I spent probably 50% of my time in the last couple of years I worked for those fuckers sorting out "misunderstandings" like this.  It is very easy to go astray, and the main thing you need to remember is that no one is your friend, but most of them are trying to give the most accurate information of which they are aware.  Unfortunately, like in any organization, some people do not know enough to be answering the questions they answer.  But the system is set up for them to give you an answer anyway, because that gets you to move along.

Be as friendly as you can, take notes, and always get stuff in writing, over a signature, if you can. Sorry, but I think you have real reason for concern, but at the same time, I'm the smart ex employee who knows the limits of his ability to answer with authority in your circumstances.

Worst case scenario, if you still want to help, is that you have to drive there and go with one of them to whatever office serves their account,  drag them physically into that office, and ask your questions.  But again, do not presume the answers you get are correct without corroborating with at least one other source.

I appreciate this @Page Turner.  

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"HABITAT FOR HUMANITY CRITICAL HOME REPAIR"

...not every place has a local chapter of Habitat, but they can be very helpful on home repairs/renovations to keep people in their homes if there is one nearby.  There's considerable waiting time for projects, but I read somewhere that McKenzie Scott, (Bezos) just gave a bunch of her ex husband's divorce settlement money to them.  And good on her for doing so.

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8 hours ago, Kzoo said:

Start with the Senior Services department in their local county.  County governments provide resources to assist seniors with decisions like this.

 

I passed it on.  Thank you, Kzoo.

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