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CARENOTES | Past Carenotes | Let's Talk


Welcome to CareNotes. In this special section we will feature a reader's letter and provide an opportunity for an interactive exchange that will help find some answers and possible solutions to concerns. If you wish to respond to this letter, simple follow the link provided at the end of the letter and add your comments and thoughts to our CareNotes Board.

This Week's Carenote - 05/01/12

I am trying to get some information on any benefits that are available for caregivers.  My husband became disabled in 1999 and went on Social Security disability two years later.  I just turned 64 and am thinking about retiring, to be there for my husband who has been on dialysis for the past two years.  But I donít know how we will swing it if I go on Social Security as we struggle even while I work full-time. Since I am not eligible for Medicare until I am 65, I would have to pay higher premiums.  We moved in with my son back in 2010 when my husband was diagnosed with end stage renal failure as we could no longer afford to stay in our own home with my husbandís expenses.  Is there any literature that might explain how to determine if I am eligible for benefits?

Margaret in Philadephia

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Name: zuzu
Location: Greensboro NC
Date: 05/01/2012
Time: 08:13 PM


Margaret, The best thing you could do is take a half day and go to your local Social Security Office and sit down and talk to one of their case workers and ask your questions. Let them go over your choices, because everyone's options are different. Depending on your year of birth you take full SS retirement at different ages. They can show you the difference in monthly benefits you would get if you started drawing money at different ages; about drawing off your husband's benefits and waiting to use yours; about drawing off your benefits and continuing to work part time; and how to compare options so the choices would work best for you. As far as medical insurance a good source for information is your senior health insurance information program, or something of a similar name. They are state agency that helps you compare Medicare programs, supplemental programs and Part D programs to make the best choice of what is available to you. They give free advice and help fill out forms, file forms, help with insurance denial of claims. Another question to be considered is if your husband (or you) was ever in the military and served during a war time, which would make him eligible for VA benefits. If that's a choice, you should see a VA benefits coordinator to apply for all benefits he's eligible for. The good thing is that as a disabled person the money he gets now he'll continue to get as he turns 65, and he'll continue on Medicare and be able to get a supplement to cover what Medicare doesn't. Please also do internet searches about free medical care or grants and help paying for medical care for people who are in end stage renal failure. There are groups who often help pay for or off set the cost for families like yours so that you don't lose everything while trying to provide the care your husband needs. I'll check a few out and try to return to this site and list them for you. Call your county senior resources center and tell them your whole story and ask if there is any help that they can offer to help pay for any of the care your husband needs. You deserve the help, you are working hard to support your family, care for your husband, be responsible as a wife and caregiver. You must also allow those who are willing in your community give you the support and encouragement that you need as you go through this difficult time. Your family will find that it becomes a time of strength and power when you have the force of the community behind you. Deborah

Name: tj
Location: wv
Date: 05/01/2012
Time: 09:22 AM


Contact your local area aging on aging or senior center, they should have a person designated to give informtion on varies programs available. Check with your local department of human resources or department of social services, your husband may be eligible for a 'spend down' medical care which would assist with the medical expenses. You can find the phone numbers in the phone book. You can also call the national kidney foundation for more info: . Call 855-NKF-CARES (855-653-2273) good luck

Name: Carolyn
Location: Maryland
Date: 05/01/2012
Time: 05:38 AM


The National Council on Aging has a website that helps people find benefits. It is Good luck!

Name: Patsy
Location: Miami
Date: 05/01/2012
Time: 05:21 AM


A retired spouse (married or divorced) is eligible to get a separate social security check at 66 years old It doesn't reduce the other one's check. You can get your own social security check at 62, but then you can't get the other social security check off the spouse as above.



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