The Paper Labyrinth

Image result for images of buried in paperwork

Aunt Joan’s life savings have just about run out. And because her care in the nursing home costs more than the whole family put together could ever pay, she has to go on Medicaid.

So now we wander in a paper labyrinth, part maze, part hall of mirrors, back and forth, up and down, around and around, and God only knows if we’ll ever come out the right door. Last week it was Joan’s birth certificate. Now it’s her bank statements, month by month, going back five years. Medicaid demands them. We have to provide them. And one of the banks seems intent on making this as difficult as possible.

My wife, a high-class bookkeeper all her working life, has been trying to manage this. Yesterday I spent all morning at a couple of different banks, finally coming home under the blissful illusion that we’d actually accomplished something. Nope. Just caused another avalanche of paper to fall on our heads.

I want to know how a younger person, who is not a widely experienced bookkeeper and who has to report to work every day, could ever possibly hope to handle this. Take a year off work? Or try to do all this when he gets home from work? Oops–everybody you’d need to talk to is gone for the day. Maybe magic. Yeah, magic! That might work.

I have to stop writing about this now. My head is pounding.

7 comments on “The Paper Labyrinth

  1. I wish that this reply was an attempt at cynical humor, but it isn’t. I’ve seed several people deal with Social Security Disability Benefits, Medicaid, etc. and have come to the conclusion that they are using any delaying tactic in hopes that you will either give up, or die, before you collect one red cent.

    1. I feel kind of bad saying it, but I think it’s fairly accurate. That does, however, suggest a strategy: be the ever pleasant, but ever squeaky wheel.

  2. I have an inkling of what you are dealing with. I will pray for you. When I moved from Washington to Idaho, a part of my income was lost. In my research, I found the department where I was to address the problem.
    My first two attempts only resulted in a run around. One day, in exhaustion, I lay down on my bed, and after a couple of minutes, I was suddenly prompted to get up, and call the number again. I did, I reached an English speaking woman who knew what she was doing, asked a few simple questions and informed me that the lost amount would be regained at the next pay period, and that they would return a part of what I had lost.
    It all happened smoothly. I know the prompt that day was from the Lord. He knew when and how to take care of it. He is always right. He can do the same for you. shalom.

  3. I sympathize, Lee. In 2005 I had to do something similar for my mother. It seems strange to say that “fortunately” she had no assets except the contents of her one-bedroom apartment (rented) and a very small savings account, but it really was fortunate in that I didn’t have to handle the sale and accounting of proceeds for a home, car, stock, etc. It was just that tiny savings account, which was easy to spend down to the required $1500 in just two months of nursing home care; and the contents of her apartment, most of which I gave to charity or paid to have hauled away.

    But unfortunately, I had no family to help … no family, period, except two cousins out of state. And yes, I had to do it all while teaching at my university and keeping up with the paper-grading, student conferences, and research. I know how grueling it must be for you. But thank God you have family around you to share the burden, if only for emotional support. There were times when I could barely make it out of the nursing home to my car, after my daily visit to my mother, before I started crying.

    I’ll keep you and your family in my prayers. But tell me one thing … how do you pronounce your last name? (How embarrassing.)

    Thank you for a beautiful and inspiring blog.

Leave a Reply