Qualifying for SCRIE

OMG!! I' so glad I found you. My mother is 84 and asked me to move back home to care for her full time.  She's been on SCRIE for over 20 years and was sure without a doubt she would be safe to remain on the program as long as I only earned a minimal amount of money, she was terrified of going into an old age home.  After careful consideration I felt I owed her my attention in these last years for her.  I stopped working at the end of 07 and me and my 7 year old moved into my mothers apartment to take care of her full time. Needless to say this is hard work without pay but I can sleep at night knowing she happy and well taken care of. I thought it would be a smart idea to call the SCRIE program and find out what paperwork needed to be filled out.  I wanted to make sure we were doing everything on the up and up.  I spoke to one of the SCRIE agents this morning and I've been sick ever since.

A copy of my 2007 tax return has been requested and was told if I made over $23,000 last year my mother would be pushed out of the SCRIE program that she has been on for over 20 years. I made over $23,000 but stopped working to move in and care for her full time.  At this point even if I found a new job I wouldn't be able to afford her rent that would skyrocket, a full time caretaker for her and my daughter as well all the utilities.  If I move, finding a new rental would be astronomical, I was in my last apartment for many years and the rent was affordable and I can't leave the state, otherwise I lose custody of my daughter.  Besides, I don't want to put my mother in a nursing home and live far away from her.  

Why would what my earning when I was NOT living and caring for her have anything to do with my income during the time I am living and caring for her?  Would that mean I would have to live out of apartment for a year without earning a living in order to move in with her the following year?  How can that be possible?  What is wrong with this system and what do I do now? I'm so upset and I have not told my elderly mother what my findings were this morning.  She looks so happy and content knowing she doesn't have to go into a living facility.  Please, there must be something I can do, I've only been here for 7 weeks and now I fear the worst.  Is there anyone that can help us or give me advice?  I'm devastated and at 2:06am my thoughts are racing.  Any advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated.  All I've heard from people I have spoken with is "Ooops, your mother made a mistake."  Well, yeah but I have a little girl and an elderly mother and we need to be together.  Can you point me in the right direction? Thank you so very much for have this website.

Joyce in California, 45

Dear Joyce,

I understand the complexity of your situation.  You want and need to take care of your mother and daughter, but this can be a very difficult challenge. There are many rules and regulations when dealing with any governmental agency such as SCRIE. Within each community there are legal agencies that can help you decipher the legal interpretations and complexity of their rules. Your local Department on Aging may be able to direct you to the legal department that is most familiar with SCRIE. You are doing the right things for all of the right reasons, but sometimes during this process we jump in before we know which is the right direction or action to take. The complexity of this situation requires someone who can sit with you, listen to all of the details, and then help you make the right moves to get things straightened out.

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