Strategies to benefit financially once elderly retired parents move in with you

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I am approaching my late 30s and my older parents (father 73 and mother 69) just moved in with me. They are totally dependent on me to support them financially, drive them around etc... I am not married and have no children.

Does anyone in a similar situation (even if married) have any thoughts on either making money or increasing savings or getting tax breaks due to older parents moving in with them?

e.g.,

-- I have never had a second person added onto my credit cards and adding my parents will get me the benefit of some free bonus second person sign-on airline miles, membership reward points etc... My parents are recent immigrants so they do not qualify for their own credit cards as yet.

-- Since both my parents are retired, I can make them look for grocery and other coupons, something I never do.

-- There will probably be some tax benefits for me next year (parents moved in this year) since I am the sole provider for my parents.

-- Since my parents get senior discounts on many things, there must be some things where I can benefit too by tagging along?


 

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I find it odd that on FWF I got many reds for suggesting they work if they are healthy. Why is it a bad idea for healthy... (more)

Rajjeq (Mar. 26, 2017 @ 5:54p) |

In previous Fatwallet threads about this subject
(the subject of:  immigrant parents in their 60s and 70s moving in with... (more)

oppidum (Mar. 27, 2017 @ 3:40p) |

for what we know....they might not even have driving license since they are new immigrants with greencards and even know... (more)

jumroo (Mar. 28, 2017 @ 8:32a) |

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Are they too unhealthy to work? If not, and they have no money, let them get jobs.

One is unhealthy. One has limited understanding of English, but can work 10-20 hrs a week on the side I would guess.

If you financially support your parents and they live with you, aren't they considered dependents? Would you get 2 extra personal exemptions? Would you file as Head of Household rather than single?

Hope so, but will find out next year. They just moved in with me this yr so no 2016 tax benefits.

Do they qualify for Social Security and Medicare?

There's ObamaCare, if you hurry.

qcumber98 said:   There's ObamaCare, if you hurry.
  I think Medicare covers considering their ages.

No Medicare since they are recent green card recipients with no 10 yr work history. No Medicaid either in my state. No Obamacare when I tried. Now enrollment period over anyway.

No Obamacare? I can understand open enrollment, but why was it denied (Other than date)
And no Medicaid in your state? Ouch, yes that will cause you many financial headaches.

I am in WA state. They said no Obamacare or Medicaid for over 65 yr old new green card immigrants when I tried.

Anyway, I have resigned myself in that area and hope if any major medical event, the emergency medical program in our state will cover.

File as Head of Household on next year's taxes. Get the larger deduction.

Another idea, not on the up and up.  If you have a savings account or brokerage, take advantage of your parent's tax exemptions, standard deductions, credits, and lower tax bracket by opening joint account in their name(s) and your name, reporting income under their tax ID. Caveat: if your parents will ever need Medicaid, they might look upon the money as theirs.

kiliman said:   I am in WA state. They said no Obamacare or Medicaid for over 65 yr old new green card immigrants when I tried.

Anyway, I have resigned myself in that area and hope if any major medical event, the emergency medical program in our state will cover.

  
http://www.washingtonlawhelp.org/resource/health-care-reform-imm...
https://www.wahbexchange.org/new-customers/who-can-sign-up/immig...

I believe your parents should be eligible for ACA (Obamacare) as they have a "qualified" immigration status.  On another note they also mention:"Some qualified immigrants, including those who got their green card through a visa petition filed by a relative, cannot get non-emergency Medicaid until they have been in lawful permanent resident (LPR) status for five years. This bar does not apply to refugees, asylees, and other humanitarian entrants. There are other special exceptions for active duty military, veterans, and their families. The five-year bar only applies to non-emergency Medicaid. It does NOT affect eligibility for:

  • emergency Medicaid for immigrants
  • health insurance through the health insurance exchanges
  • medical coverage for low-income children and pregnant women

Washington State has a program called Medical Care Services (MCS) for lawfully present immigrants who are age 65 or older, blind, or disabled, who are ineligible for non-emergency Medicaid.

That being said, I cant want this more than you.  This was compiled in a 2 min search...

>> They are totally dependent on me to support them financially.

It sound like they have no income, or perhaps, no nest egg. Is this true? How did they make ends meet before moving in with you?

>> I am not married and have no children.

It sound like you have very few things tying you down to WA. Is moving an option - i.e. to another state that would have financial resources to aid them?

My mother always drilled this into us growing up, but it unless they subscribed to that motto already, it's probably a little late in life to change.

I feel for you, regardless.

If you are providing for their support, you should be able to deduct them as dependents on your income tax forms.

kiliman said:   -- I have never had a second person added onto my credit cards and adding my parents will get me the benefit of some free bonus second person sign-on airline miles, membership reward points etc... My parents are recent immigrants so they do not qualify for their own credit cards as yet.
Side comment (not related to this thread)...

You can add yourself as an Authorized User (AU) to qualify as the "second person" for AU bonuses. For example, if your name is "John Smith" (where presumably your primary CC would be under that name), you can add "J Smith" as an AU.  If a CC issuer requires an SSN for the AU, and if you're adding yourself, list your own SSN.  There is a potential downside to this though (for CC issuers that require an SSN of an AU):  Your AU card may show up on your credit report (CR) as an additional NEW account.  If, for example, you're trying to stay under the Chase 5/24 rule, you may need to be mindful of new accounts listed on your CR.

  

Get at least one of them to work - earning the 4 social security credit per year. It only requires earning ~$5000/year for the max 4 credits per year. So the bar is not too high.

You need 10 years of soc. sec. credits to get any benefits under normal circumstances, 5 years if disabled. Spousal benefits can also come into play at this point.

Bpp,

-- I tried quite hard to get Obamacare for them, but the social services office here as well the online portal as well as the phone support all refused the application. Various staff told me they will not get it in WA state due to being both green card holders and over 65. No idea why each state is different.

-- Regarding MCS, there is a convoluted way of getting it where they force you to apply for cash benefits first, and then only after approval for that do they approve you for medical (basically you prove you are poor and want/need cash, then you later get medical too). However, I do not wish to apply for cash because it is too risky to get cash for new immigrants (especially in the current political environment). There are rumors that new immigrants can even get their green cards revoked in future if they get cash and food benefits (they are not supposed to become public charges and I signed an affidavit that I support them when it comes to cash and food needs). If I do not apply for cash first, then I cannot get MCS medical.

Anyway, I have spent many hrs on this at various offices and what you read online is not always so simple in reality.

Unfortunately, this thread has become about medical insurance when I was hoping to get many other ideas

Logan71,

I have financially supported them for the past 15 yrs and they have no nest egg.

The Diggler and puddonhead,

Very interesting information! Thanks.

I believe some phone companies like Verizon offer a senior citizen plan.

https://www.verizonwireless.com/support/nationwide-65-plus-plans/

Just want to commend you for taking care of your parents.
 

Additional point to note: 5 years after they immigrate - they have the option of "buy"ing into medicare even if they have no work credit.

I am not 100% sure, but based on some circumstantial information I have - I think the cost of such "buying in" is ~$500-$700/mo/person. If so - it will be significantly cheaper than private insurance.

Thanks ledwards....I also get some benefits such as great home cooked food and a daily cleaned apartment

Puddonhead, after 5 years, they can become US citizens instead of "just" green card holders.

Then they can get Medicaid, Medicare (buy-in), Obamacare...pretty much anything.

>>Puddonhead, after 5 years, they can become US citizens instead of "just" green card holders.

Assuming they can pass the civics exam ...

Could be a problem if they have any English proficiency issues...

kiliman said:   Hope so, but will find out next year. They just moved in with me this yr so no 2016 tax benefits.You don't need to wait until next year to find out. You can find out now. You can even adjust your withholding now so that you don't get a huge refund when you file next year.

See if any of your utilities offer a senior discount - trash, water, phone, etc. - if so, put service in their name.  They're living there, so it should be legitimate.

Kudos on taking care of parents. Hard journey is ahead if there is no insurance. From investopedia - A study by Harvard University indicates that medical expenses are the biggest cause of bankruptcy, representing 62% of all personal bankruptcies.

Adding parents as dependents may not work well financially when you have emergency medical visits. At 73 and 69, these visits are more a case of "when" and not "if". If the right insurance cannot be figured out, systems in the home country may be better for them

For those in the know, in the event that my father has major medical expenses in several years that he cannot pay, is he able to declare bankruptcy or am I supposed to declare bankruptcy if I declare him as a dependent in my tax returns starting next year?

What if we go to the hospital and they ask me to sign for financial responsibility of my father, but I refuse? I have read that hospitals are still forced to admit the patient if there is an emergency situation.

Luckily my state covers emergency care (although you apply for the aid after the emergency occurs), but I have to plan for surprises where they refuse.

Him being a dependent on your taxes doesn't link to you being fiscally responsible for him.

However Hospitals always want you to sign, if you don't, they will still see your father, but not at the 'speed' a paying person has.

My wife and I decided that it was best for her father to remain in the Philippines and not come to the US. The risk for high medical expenses was just too much to take. It was much better to support him in the Philippines including any medical care than to bring him to the united states in his 60's and unable to work. I believe his quality of life was better there when you take into account the other family members and friend that were all close by. In the US he would never be able to drive and would probably not make many friends. We could support him and visit every couple of years and still come out ahead of one minor health issue that required hospitalization. I also feel that after all the immigration expense he would not have made it through one Wisconsin winter and would beg to get back to the warmth.

I also believe that affidavit of support you signed suggests that if your parents take any means tested benefits until they have 40 quarters of work or become citizens that the provider can come after you for payment.

Read the "affidavit of support form".

To me it seems your liability will apply only to "means tested public benefit"s.

Extreme case 1: If your parents rack up gambling debt, you are not responsible due to "affidavit of support" since that is not a "means tested public benefit". Now if you sign as a co-borrower then it is different.

Extreme case 2: If your parents somehow enrolled in state assistance for the poor, say food stamps, then you ARE responsible to pay it back lest your parents become "public charge" - something expressly forbidden by the affidavit of support.

For medical debt - the 64 million dollar question is whether it qualifies as "means tested public benefit" or not. I don't know the answer and don't think a simple answer exists!! At a minimum this will depend on how the hospital accounts for its uncollected care, charity care, whether it is sold in collections etc. etc. etc.

There have been FW threads in the past started by people in similar or partially-similar situations.

Use the search function - try a few different keywords out - to see if anything comes up.

----
As an aside, there don't seem to be as many immigrant-situation threads as there used to be here.

(That is nothing to do with the recent new government administration and their attitudes about immigration/immigrants; I have noticed this about Fatwallet in the last couple of years, and it seems to have been due to a natural shift in the general audience/participants across this website. My assumption was that many of those prior participants and their colleagues/compatriots probably found other US websites that were more interesting/helpful to them, for the things that they had once turned to Fatwallet to discuss/ask about.)

Puddonhead, thanks again. That is exactly why I did not sign on for the cash and only then medical program in WA. Do not wish to have issues with being a public charge etc...


Hey Oppidum.

I started the thread (see title) with no intention of it being about immigrants or medical insurance. Guess I am partly to blame for this unintended result.

needdealsnow said:   Kudos on taking care of parents. Hard journey is ahead if there is no insurance. From investopedia - A study by Harvard University indicates that medical expenses are the biggest cause of bankruptcy, representing 62% of all personal bankruptcies.

Adding parents as dependents may not work well financially when you have emergency medical visits. At 73 and 69, these visits are more a case of "when" and not "if". If the right insurance cannot be figured out, systems in the home country may be better for them

  In some states like WI, green card holders get free medical care. I know tons of immigrants. Heck I know few who just come to US, get their surgeries done for free and come back next year for more. 

kiliman said:   Hey Oppidum.
I started the thread (see title) with no intention of it being about immigrants or medical insurance. Guess I am partly to blame for this unintended result.

1. My main answer to you didn't mention immigrants at all and it was simply about the situation of having one's parent/parents move in with oneself, and possibly become classed as dependents for tax purposes. 
As I said, there have been other Fatwallet threads on that issue in the past few years, so you might do a search and see what ideas have already been mentioned.

2. My "as an aside" comment did mention the fact that there seem to be fewer threads these days on issues that are mainly relevant to immigrants-to-the-US,
but you must realize that in the US, most of the time this situation (where a child's parents will be entirely financially dependent on him/her and will move in to live with him/her in his/her home) is going to occur in families where all or part of the family are immigrants to the US.  Yes, it does happen in families where all of the family members are "native" to the US, but it's more likely to come up with immigrants.

3.  I didn't mention anything about medical insurance in my comment. 

However --

Since you seem to have enough money to fund your parents' lives in the US, I would hope that you won't leave them dangling without any official health insurance,
and that you would not leave it to chance (and to charity) that the local emergency room might give them care as uninsured people if they have any devastating health issues.

People of that age usually ought to have regular medical check-ups and they often might be healthier (or less likely to become ill later on) when they are taking some kind of prescription medication, which you are preventing them from having if they don't get medical care regularly.

And when elderly people do have a health emergency, it can come on fast and can be serious.

(I have some elderly relatives whom I've had to take/accompany to the emergency room many times in the last year, and sometimes they have been admitted to the hospital and needed to stay for a day, a week, even up to 3 months in the hospital afterwards.  The official medical costs have run to over a million dollars -- fortunately they all have Medicare after working 40 to 50 years and "paying into the system" all that time.)

I think there was a Fatwallet thread a couple of years ago about a guy from India whose father came to visit him for a month, without health insurance, and when his father was here, he had a heart attack and wasn't covered for medical treatment.  I think his father died.  AND he had a huge US medical bill still to pay, I think.

Thus, the respondents who are focusing on getting proper medical insurance for your parents are doing so for a reason, and with your family's welfare at heart. 

--------
Aside from cooking for you, cleaning for you, doing errands for you, providing a "home security" presence for you, cutting coupons for you, warding off potential girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband/romantic partners, etc. --
and allowing you to claim them as dependents on your future tax returns --
and I guess reaping credit card opening and bank account opening bonuses off their identities --
I'm not sure what other ways you are expecting to save/make money from the situation.

...You could make them do neighborhood babysitting or dog-walking for cash, I guess, or have them make handicrafts to sell on Etsy.  (joking)

forbin4040 said:   Him being a dependent on your taxes doesn't link to you being fiscally responsible for him.

However Hospitals always want you to sign, if you don't, they will still see your father, but not at the 'speed' a paying person has.

  The "speed" will be based on priority and best practice, not related to payment.  ER docs don't even know who's paying and how. 

puddonhead said:   Additional point to note: 5 years after they immigrate - they have the option of "buy"ing into medicare even if they have no work credit.

I am not 100% sure, but based on some circumstantial information I have - I think the cost of such "buying in" is ~$500-$700/mo/person. If so - it will be significantly cheaper than private insurance.

  Interesting.

Rubl said:   The "speed" will be based on priority and best practice, not related to payment.  ER docs don't even know who's paying and how. 
I fully agree with the "speed" part but not sure I agree that ER docs aren't notified (even if informally) about a patient's insurance status.

Once, on my initial visit with a new Primary Care Physician (PCP), after reading a certain test result he was alarmed, so he ordered me to go straight to the ER.  He wouldn't allow me to drive myself, so unless someone could take me, he'd call an ambulance (I managed to get someone to come pick me up). Remember, I was a new patient to him, so he was erring on the side of caution.

The PCP apparently didn't know how to read the particular test result properly, because the triage nurse at the ER immediately disagreed with the PCP's diagnosis (saying there was no issue); however, she stated that the ER doc would need to officially make that determination.

I was such a low priority case that it took 2 (maybe even 3) hours until I was called into the actual ER (where a doctor sees you). During that 2-3 hour wait, I was called into a registration office, where my insurance info, etc. was collected. The person working in registration made a comment along the lines of "Damn, you've got some good insurance!" (I didn't think my health insurance plan was anything special -- was an HDHP where I had hardly met any of my deductible).

When I finally saw the ER doc (VERY late at night), he agreed that my PCP's diagnosis was wrong; however, he also said that since my PCP felt the need to send me to the ER, perhaps they'll just keep me overnight for safe keeping/observation. When I heard that, I strongly suspected that they were milking money due to my "good insurance." I ended up being discharged for my "overnight stay" after spending less than 6 hours in a normal hospital room (where I barely managed to get any sleep because nurses constantly came by to check my vitals).

Had I not had insurance, I have a gut feeling that they would have discharged me directly from the ER once they determined that my PCP's diagnosis was false (and that there were no other issues).   In fairness, I have no way to prove that.

Drifting back toward your original topic, see the list of senior discounts at https://www.theseniorlist.com/

If your parents aren't AARP members, take a look at the benefits of AARP and see if it makes sense for them to join.  

Might even be possible for them to insure your home or auto at lower senior rates depending upon circumstances.  At a minimum, you should get a break on homeowners if your property is going to almost always be occupied.
 

Skipping 4 Messages...
Rajjeq said:   I find it odd that on FWF I got many reds for suggesting they work if they are healthy. Why is it a bad idea for healthy adults to work a light job and help out if they can?
  
 for what we know....they might not even have driving license since they are new immigrants with greencards and even know how to drive in US. at ages 73 and 69...i wouldn't want them to drive...which is more liability and you have to pay auto insurance and car payments etc.  more trouble than you think.

 



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