Are there professionals one can hire to help an alcoholic dad?
December 16, 2016 7:02 PM   Subscribe

My friend's dad is a bi-polar alcoholic veteran who is currently living in a motel and he may soon become homeless. Are there professionals my friend can hire to work with his dad to determine what government assistance might be available?

My friend is hesitant to give his dad money directly because he (dad) may mishandle it. My friend is not in a position to step in and communicate with any social workers dad is already working with.

We're wondering if there is such a thing as a professional social work/attorney/therapist (or something of the like) who my friend could hire to work with his dad and figure out what benefits (housing, medical care, therapy, alcohol treatment) might be available to him.

- Dad is 68.
- He is a veteran.
- He has been diagnosed as bi-polar.
- He has a small monthly pension but it is not enough to cover rent and basic expenses.
- We live in Washington State.
posted by grayber to Human Relations (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Private case managers are definitely a thing, and he may also qualify for public resources. It might be helpful to contact the state Council on Aging to ask for resources. His county or city's local agency will likely be the more hands-on agency, but the state organization can maybe point you to more local resources. If he gets services through the VA, it may also be worth contacting that VA and asking if they have any case-management services that could help.
posted by lazuli at 7:14 PM on December 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yep, google private case manager or senior citizen benefits advisor and the like in your area. We did this when my mother-in-law was getting older/sicker/weaker, and paid maybe $500 to a consultant who was an absolute lifesaver for us. She knew every in and out of "the system" in that city, knew every nursing home, knew exactly what we had to do to file for benefits, how many hours of assistance she qualified for, etc. For that $500 she probably saved us $10,000, not to mention the fact that she made every step of the process (of getting benefits) go more smoothly.
posted by BlahLaLa at 7:22 PM on December 16, 2016 [9 favorites]

Since he is a veteran, he is likely entitled to VA benefits. There are a number of organizations that help vets apply for benefits and identify what services they qualify for. The American Legion, Disabled American Vets and Veterans of Foreign Wars are just a few of the organizations that help navigate that process. Many of those organizations also have designated payees who act as independent financial custodians.
posted by goggie at 7:52 PM on December 16, 2016 [3 favorites]

Another term to search for: geriatric care manager.
posted by BlahLaLa at 7:59 PM on December 16, 2016

Check with your local legal aid group. There are ABA programs focused on homeless veterans and helping them to navigate the regulations to get the assistance they need.
posted by Sukey Says at 4:49 AM on December 17, 2016

Your city/town/area probably has a veteran service officer who can handle (or at least help with) a lot of this: List of veteran service officers in Washington state
posted by cadge at 9:42 AM on December 17, 2016

You mention that he is a vet, and receives a small pension. The list of VSO's cadge gives is a good line of inquiry. He is eligible for VA assistance and medical care. Some areas actually have domiciles for certain situations, usually involving rehab.

Please be aware that the State VSOs are not the federal Veterans Affairs organizations. They will help your friend's dad get hooked up, and into the appropriate part of the federal VA system. The Service Officer at the state VA will also help him resolve any upgrades to his pension. Many veterans are under-rated, but don't know how to navigate the federal VA's system of appeals.

Your friend can call one of the offices for his day, but he must have on hand a DD-214, or similar document that shows that describes his dad's term of service and type of discharge. At some point in the process his dad will have to be interviewed.

I worked with the state VSOs here in Oregon a couple decades ago to help resolve issues I had with the federal VA. This is a much easier approach than dealing directly with the federal VA. I suppose VFW or similar orgs would also be helpful.

Best of luck.
posted by mule98J at 11:55 AM on December 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

If he's not already enrolled with the VA, info on getting started is here.
posted by slipthought at 3:54 PM on December 17, 2016

Seconding getting your friend's dad in touch with a VSO. They are trained to help with just this sort of situation. My understanding is there is no charge to work with a VSO.
posted by MrBobinski at 7:07 PM on December 20, 2016

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