Help us figure out how to not end up homeless by winter
September 1, 2017 6:46 PM   Subscribe

This was what was happening two weeks ago. Things have taken a new turn. My partner and I have been given two months to find a way to pay $2000 in rent and utilities or move out because his mom wants to go to an assisted living facility. We need help coming up with a game plan.

While my partner was in the mental hospital, his brother talked their mom into moving to a facility that is paid for by Medicare. The move would take place in two months. As I mentioned in the previous question, her income has been paying our rent and we haven't had a chance to earn any money to save due to our position as her full-time caretakers, combined with our own barriers to employment (mental health issues).

Today his mom announced that she wanted to move and we had two months. My partner has barely had time to recover from his breakdown. This is a horrible time for him to have to worry about finding a job and where he's going to live. He was homeless before and this has triggered his PTSD from that. He can't currently function and has taken to his bed. He hasn't even had his meds calibrated or had a chance to follow up with outpatient services yet, though we have appointments set up for some help with a disability application for him and to get referrals for resources. L is too stressed out to problem-solve at the moment or to try to push forward with planning or getting help.

His mother has been shuffled from kid to kid during L's time in the hospital and she's been back here sporadically too but he's in no shape to care for her. I've been taking care of him and when she's here, both of them.

Another sibling will take her for the weekend, but I don't have a clue how often they're going to take her over the next two months. How can we apply for work under these circumstances if we are stressed out and caregiving, and how can we save if she expects us to pitch in for rent and bills?

I am scared to work outside the home when I have two people who might not be okay to be left during the day. My partner's mental state is fragile and so is his mom's physical state. The other siblings seem to think L needs "tough love" or something even though the oldest brother has said he will help. He hasn't said how.

One sibling said we should just get minimum wage jobs. We're not cut out for long hours of stressful retail or fast food labor and in fact we are both knowledge workers who would do better working remotely and probably make the same type of income as full-time minimum, with fewer work hours and less stress. But we need time to find such jobs and we need to not be indentured caretakers while we job-hunt. I've been applying for jobs for two weeks and haven't gotten anything yet.

Ideally we would like to stay in our current home. Another option is to move back to my hometown and rent a place from one of my relatives but I'm concerned about the effect that the stress of such a move at this time would have on my partner and our relationship. The stress for him would be monumental if we have to do this. My hometown is small and poor and in a state where the mental health treatment isn't as good as where we currently live. The job market there is awful, but I guess it doesn't matter if we can find remote or freelance work.

On the positive side my relative would probably be much more understanding than his family. And I have a couple friends there who might be able to help L. get on disability since they know the system. But I've barely had time to settle in where we are, in L's home state.

I am scared for my partner right now and also for myself. I suggested he return to the hospital but he's afraid it might lead to his siblings thinking he's completely incompetent and taking control of his life while he's there. Please help me figure out what our options are.
posted by Beethoven's Sith to Human Relations (28 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It might be helpful if you gave your location so that people can speak to tenants' rights in your area.
posted by lalex at 7:32 PM on September 1, 2017 [3 favorites]

#1 - have your partner execute a health care power of attorney that gives you control over his medical condition if he is not considered competent to make his own decisions. I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice but I would do everything you could to make it as compelling as possible - get it notarized, even if just witnesses are required in your state. Have him write a statement explaining why he is naming you and not his family. Just to give him confidence that it will be safe for him to go into the hospital if that is what he needs.
posted by metahawk at 7:38 PM on September 1, 2017 [12 favorites]

Can you apply for HUD? Or look at house-sitting websites or maybe house-sitting for professors who are on sabbatical. Maybe try going to your nearest shelter and inquiring about resources they have available- whether at the shelter, or options that they outsource to other people.
posted by erattacorrige at 7:54 PM on September 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

I suggested he return to the hospital but he's afraid it might lead to his siblings thinking he's completely incompetent and taking control of his life while he's there.

Get you listed ahead of them as contact and decision-maker on all hospital forms. consult hospital admin to ensure this is possible.

But per your description his siblings really do not sound like they want to take over where his mother is about to leave off; they haven't wanted responsibility for their mother's life until now so why would they want responsibility for his? People always say you can't reason people out of paranoia but I have found that sometimes you actually can. accused of plotting against someone once, I was able to say: that sounds like an awful lot of work. What would be in it for me? and the unwell person paused, thought it over carefully, and conceded that they couldn't think of anything. Give this a shot.

And if you don't believe he's paranoid, that's even better because, frankly, if they take over his life that means he won't be homeless and starving. You are having an especially awful time because you've been having to care for two people not able to care for themselves, as well as yourself. Meanwhile, your partner is at the point of breakdown from caring for just one! It is hard to read all this and not have some different opinions about the family dynamics, but however the responsibility is divided, none of it falls on you. You have been sacrificing your own needs to keep this man and his mother alive and well. that is noble but it is not sustainable. Take a break from trying to shepherd him through aid and disability applications and focus on the ones for yourself. He should have help from a social worker and someone at the hospital could help. can't say if they would, but could.

If you are able but afraid to get a job because it's not safe to leave him home alone, he needs to be in the hospital, period. This sounds like the only way he is currently capable of helping, so he needs to at least do that.

how can we save if she expects us to pitch in for rent and bills?

you can't. so don't! she can't evict you in two months, and if she's depending on your small payment to make the rent, she isn't going to get evicted in the next two months either. just stop. especially if you don't have a lease. She is going to be ok; the wheels are in motion to get her somewhere safe and her other children won't let her starve. She "expects" you to hand over some rent money? well, she expected her adult son to live independently, too; expectations don't force you to comply when you can't. You need the money, so keep it.
posted by queenofbithynia at 7:58 PM on September 1, 2017 [43 favorites]

^ This. Put your partner in a hospital and then get a job. Any job. I know you think you're not cut out for retail or fast food, and want a job with less hours and stress (who doesn't!) but honestly, no one is and you're not in a position to knock back work. People don't do these jobs because they want to, they do it because it's a short term solution to get them back on their feet and no one is too good to sling a few burgers. Working from home would be great and if you get that offer, grab it. But you can't afford to hang out for your dream job while you're weeks away from ending up on the street, so do what it takes, keep sending out your remote worker resumes and you'll get there eventually.

This family is toxic, you need to make sure your partner is safe, wash your hands of them and then look after yourself. It makes no sense to drown alongside them.
posted by Jubey at 9:47 PM on September 1, 2017 [32 favorites]

Move back to your hometown, like, yesterday. Decompress from this unhealthy state of constant crisis. I bet that you will find it relatively easy to manage your life without all of the problems, chaos and demands imposed by your partner's family.
posted by Scram at 10:22 PM on September 1, 2017 [7 favorites]

I'm sorry things have escalated to this point. I am nthing move back home, even if it isn't ideal. I know it sounds scary, but the whole toxic dynamic with his family won't stop if you guys are still there, and I think the biggest thing is to stop this cycle, and take care of himself. When he is in crisis, and stressed, it's obvious his family cannot handle it, and they are actively making things worse for him. They don't mean to be, but, 'offering him tough love,' means it's obvious to me, they don't really get it. I imagine your partner probably feels like a huge failure and burden, and everything is being compounded.

If you move, you have the chance to stop the cycle, then re-evaluate, even if the services there aren't as good. You have a chance to take a breather while you try to get better employment, and improve your respective situations, get on disability, etc. In time, you may be able to move back to city.

Yes, it will be stressful, at first, but all the avenues are stressful right now-- there's no avenue that doesn't require stress, beyond somehow making the 2k a month magically, and that's probably not going to happen without long-hour menial jobs, that for your partner, probably aren't feasible right now (or ever, maybe). Personally, I think the prospect of full time work when you've just suffered a major mental health crisis, like he has, is worse than the prospect of having to move.

I know it seems awful right now, but, I personally think that in the grand scheme of things, his mom moving to assisted living is much better for him. He couldn't go forward caring for her in that manner, and neither could you. Now you are both free to focus on your own situations. It's one day at a time, and just focus on the positives; that you guys are much more free now, that he can rest and recover, etc. Don't focus on the stressful parts of the move, and hopefully they will be somewhat minimized.

I hope things improve soon. I'm sorry you're going through this.
posted by Dimes at 10:40 PM on September 1, 2017 [3 favorites]

I say go home. Live with your mom. Get treatment for PTSD. I know you don't want another ride on the horse that bucked you because last time it hurt so much, and just at the moment that you were trying everything to get better. I get it. It's scary. But it does not have to be this way. You escaped an abusive relationship, did therapy while living at home, and then had a full time office job before. You are actually SAFER and more equipped to make the transition into something like full employment than before, because you've already done it. It could never possibly get worse than this, only better. Many people get fired and bullied, yes many "difficult people" lose their jobs (I am not saying you are difficult just that you relate to the "square peg round hole metaphor" it seems), but there are offices all over the country filled with extremely obnoxious people less smart and capable than you whom people accomodate. And there are offices with nice jobs, where you can find a place. Your heart may be telling you this is not possible but I think if you use your head you will recognize that PTSD is making you scared. If you can do this, it will be better for your partner long term. His best shot at a happy life would be seeing you make this change and being inspired to follow suit. You were almost there before all this happened, you just got shot down. Please try again, you are much more likely to succeed this time.
posted by benadryl at 10:54 PM on September 1, 2017 [5 favorites]

I tell this to everyone I meet who has older people on Medicare. Find a way to put the old person's assets in a trust so they effectively don't "belong" to them anymore. Medicare will take all your money once you exceed your benefits, but if you've turned the money, house, diamonds over to a trust owned by someone besides the old person then they can't touch it.

It may be different in your state. Take care of yourself first.
posted by bendy at 10:59 PM on September 1, 2017 [6 favorites]

What about the idea of moving back to your hometown by yourself for now, getting settled and working and then having your partner join you when things are more stable? I think this is the likeliest way for you to get back on your feet. I'm sure this will be very difficult for you and your partner to accept but at the moment his family is abdicating their responsibilities and leaving you to handle everything which is unrealistic and unfair on you. Moving on your own takes away their ability to do that while at the same time giving you the best shot at a stable future for yourself and partner.
posted by hazyjane at 11:48 PM on September 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

Since you both have experience in caretaking is there any possibility of looking for work as live-in caretakers, or do you need more qualifications for that?
posted by trig at 12:05 AM on September 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

Find a way to put the old person's assets in a trust so they effectively don't "belong" to them anymore

Too late if mom is going into nursing home care in two months. You have to set that up well ahead of time. Also, you need an estate lawyer and at least a few thousand bucks to pay them. This family situation sounds like it is beyond such rational planning exercises anyway.

There's a lot of distorted thinking going on here from all sides. But n'thing that while you may think of yourself as a knowledge worker who deserves to work from home, OP, you can't afford to be so picky. You need cash. Now. A shitty retail or fast food job is a job.
posted by spitbull at 3:11 AM on September 2, 2017 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: It's not that I'm "too good" for a minimum wage job. It's that I'm terrible at them due to autism and ADHD and stress, and I will inevitably be bullied and then fired from such a job. I'm good at thinking and writing, but terrible at doing things quickly, thinking on my feet, and multitasking.
posted by Beethoven's Sith at 5:56 AM on September 2, 2017 [9 favorites]

"Too late if mom is going into nursing home care in two months. You have to set that up well ahead of time."

Speaking from dealing with this stuff with my mother, this is definitely not necessarily true and why it is worth getting a lawyer involved.
posted by cakelite at 6:26 AM on September 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

N'thing what your partner needs from you right now is stability. Your partner is like a drowning person and will pull you under in their desperation to stay afloat. So you have to make sure your feet are on solid ground before you reach out for them. You drowning is NOT going to help them. The best thing you can do is get them re-admitted. They are not stable enough, nor do they have enough resources and supports to live independently right now. If they had a broken leg you wouldn't keep them home trying to treat them with your limited skills, you would have medical professionals treat him.

Get your partner back into the hospital today, reassuring them you getting things ready for them to be released into a stable living situation. That is the most loving thing you can do for them. (Hospitals are pretty notorious for releasing mentally unwell patients before supports are in place, so I am not surprised this happened here as well).

Move back with your family so you can save money immediately. Get appointments set up with a medical team so you can stablished your own medical conditions. Apply for any governemt/charity assistance you are eligible for, and apply for jobs. Don't get sucked into any drama with your partner's family. Contact only with him and his medical team (being his health care power of attorney is a good idea but if he resists than accept that is his decision, and if he gives that power to a family member who makes poor decision you have to respect that your partner made that choice willingly as an adult).

When things are stable with you - really stable, not "next week looks like things will be better" then bring your partner to you and help him find a medical team and apply for jobs.

Take some time to research long-range plans. What is your end goal and what steps can you take NOW to get there? Every choice you make, is it moving you closer to your end goal or further away? It is hard but you have to reject things that seem "right" in the moment (like having your partner stay with you but leaving you unable to care for yourself, let alone him) vs things that make your long term goal (such as living independently) impossible.

I know it is hard, really hard. But being proactive and not reactive is a skill you can develop. Good luck.
posted by saucysault at 7:25 AM on September 2, 2017 [7 favorites]

Also, not all min wage jobs expect multi-tasking, thinking on your feet, and stress. Stocking grocery shelves on the overnight shift, yard work, house cleaning, etc are options. If you don't have specific education you will need to add that your long range plans, what education do you need to get the job you want.
posted by saucysault at 7:31 AM on September 2, 2017 [2 favorites]

It's not that I'm "too good" for a minimum wage job. It's that I'm terrible at them due to autism and ADHD and stress, and I will inevitably be bullied and then fired from such a job.

The thing with short term work is that even working there for two weeks before getting fired would leave you better off than you were before, and they're radically unlikely to fire you within two weeks.

A lot of this is what I predicted, unfortunately- I know it would be better for you guys, but the family just isn't going to let you two live in mom's house without paying rent when mom isn't there. My guess is that the mortgage/utilities are about 1,100 a month, and they're trying to see if you can come up with 2,200 over the next two months to see if you and your partner will be able to take over the house. I would bet money that the next step if you guys can't is to either sell the house or transfer it into one of the sibling's names.

And it just doesn't sound like you guys can afford a house together right now. I think looking to be roommates with another couple would be ideal, to split a small place. But if you can't afford the house, the sooner you start looking at what it would cost to live by yourself, the better.
posted by corb at 8:03 AM on September 2, 2017 [5 favorites]

First of all it sounds very much like the family is expecting you to work full time and care for two people who need full time care since they are convalescent.

Plan on looking after yourself and job hunting. Plan on looking after your partner. Plan on stiffing the family of the $2000 but don't tell them so. Plan on abandoning your mother in law to her other children, not your partner to look after.

This is realistic. You cannot single-handedly do what they are expecting you to do. Therefore you need to pare it down to the essentials and work on doing what you can do. In two months you and partner will be homeless unless you find alternative living arrangements. Your priority is to find alternative living arrangements. This will require an income or funding from somewhere. So time to start searching for work to make an income and give up on looking after your poor mother-in-law. Do your job hunting /income search out of the house if you can, by going to a library with internet access.

As soon as you can get your partner the support to get him out of the house also. Getting him re-admitted is a possibility. Once he has meds and follow-up support he can go income seeking with you, outside the house.

Of course you will notify the siblings that since they require you to have an income, you are complying, and that will require you and partner to be out of the house. Keep communication with siblings to a minimum to avoid them bullying you - Ideal for them is that you get an income to pay rent, look after their mother and end up homeless in two months. They are working in conflict with you. They will likely want to argue that you and partner should be taking turns job hunting, alternating looking after their mother, but if you let them control your time this way it is probable that the job search will fail, and that they will not take responsibility for care of their mother.

So send of an e-mail. "Partner and I will be going to job fair on Monday. If you want someone to be with Mum-in-law, we leave the house at 8:10. We will not be back until three at earliest, and it may be later, if there is information for us to follow up."

Your best case scenario is to get your Mother-in-law safely living with her other children for the remaining two months before you are evicted so that you have that two months to gain income and work on your partner's health. I would advise you to try and force this. If you can both get volunteer jobs that make it impossible for you to look after Mum in law it is worth doing this.

Please try to think of this as an opportunity. Your siblings in law have been taking serious advantage of you and your partner. You have been living in a toxic situation where you have been being exploited. In two months you will no longer being used as unpaid caregivers in wretched circumstances. Things may not be better if you end up homeless. But this is now your opportunity to look after yourself and your partner and move to a better arrangement - maybe better housemates, maybe an income, maybe your partner getting a disability income. All that could become possible.

At this point you cannot help your mother-in-law. Your siblings in law have finally accepted that the situation is not workable. You may be able to maintain or restore some kind of a relationship with your mother-in-law in future when she is getting support from other people and it is not coming out of your hide. But right now, put your own oxygen mask on, then put your partner's oxygen mask on and let your partner's family know that you are complying absolutely with their demands that you produce income.
posted by Jane the Brown at 9:36 AM on September 2, 2017 [3 favorites]

One thing to keep in mind is, if your mother-in-law is in an assisted living facility it might be possible for you to get another housemate and split the rent between three or more of you. So if you get a job, and your have a working housemate and your partner gets some kind of disability you might be able to come up with the $2,000 per month required to keep you from having to move. So also keep your ears out for possible room-mates who would be a good match and safe reliable people, who might want to move in with you, as well as for roommates that you and your partner could share a place with that might not require a full $2,000 to cover the rent and utilities.
posted by Jane the Brown at 4:01 PM on September 2, 2017

Sorry that you're in this tough spot and for what you guys are going through, and that you are having to deal with your partner's family like this.

But let's discuss the practicalities. Am I understanding right, that in two months, you either have to take over the lease at approximately $2k per month (after utilities) or move out? And your number one choice is to stay in the home. You don't want to go back to your relative. And I'm guessing that finding your own new place or a shared house could be challenging, especially before you secure a job. Okay.

So, what do you realistically expect to earn? And how soon can you get a job? One scenario would be to give yourself two weeks to get a job that pays $350/week after taxes, or about $450/week before taxes. In six weeks, that would yield two grand. (And if there's a delay in getting that last paycheck, or if you're close but just a bit short, I'll assume that the brother who said he'd help could float you.) More would be better; how are you paying for food and transportation now? You need to be able to save $350 per week for six weeks.

What job could you find and start in two weeks or less that pays $450/week at a minimum? One scenario is that you work 30h/w at $15/h, which would leave you 10h to talk to social workers and apply for jobs that you'll like better. Also, going forward, $350/w is about $1400/month. I'm hoping you can rent out the mother's half of the home for $1000 so that you will have $400 to save or spend on travel or food.

If you decide to pursue this, I'd give them a heads up that in about two weeks, you'll be starting work to save up for the rent, and that the family will have to pitch in for her care (unless your partner is stable enough by then to provide it). If they push back at all, I'd push back by talking about how much care you're still going to provide. (One way of looking at this is that currently, your half of the rent is $1k, which works out to I'm guessing something like 40-80 hours of care?) Also, let them know what hours you'll have to be out of the house in the coming week to find this job. (You'd need to find it this week so you can start in two weeks.)

While I know this is tough, I think the siblings are right; it does sounds like the mother needs a full time assisted living setup. Much as I wish they'd recognize all the labor your partner and you have provided by covering the rent for a few additional months, if you've already asked them about that and they said no, well, I guess that's the situation. And I honestly don't know what to say about your partner's needs. I don't think it's good for him or you for you to be utterly broke so that you can serve as his full-time caretaker, but I hear that that's basically what he needs. Maybe the caretaker they set up for his mother can also watch over him? And you can use the next two weeks before work starts to do as many of his medical appointments as possible? (You'll also still have 10+ hours of daytime time for that even once you start work, or more if you find a job with evening shifts.) Once you guys get set up on disability and other sources of income like that, you can reassess whether it makes more sense for you guys to live on that income so that you can stay home providing care. You could cut back your hours to something more comfortable and / or switch to more of a "knowledge worker"-type job. The goal now is to stay in this town that has a good job market, to keep yourselves from having to move, and most of all, to not become homeless. So in the near term, I'd apply for anything and everything, especially food service and retail, anything with high turnover.

Remember, this plan requires starting a job in two weeks. Unless someone here has other resources to suggest, this is what you're going to have to do if you don't want to move. It doesn't have to be a job that's sustainable over the long run. It just needs to be something that allows you to pay rent and hang in there until you find that better job. Once you get a job, you might consider whether you want to stay where you are (remember, you'll need to get a roommate or a higher income) or move to a cheaper place.

This is an ambitious plan. It might not even be possible. Maybe others have better ideas. (I hear a lot of talk of "stiffing" the family, but if his mom isn't paying rent there anymore, then won't it be the landlord you're stiffing? You say "her income has been paying our rent," so it doesn't sound like his family owns this place. Stiffing a third party on the rent sounds like a fast route to eviction.) At the two week mark, if you haven't found a job, I'd start making plans to move back to your hometown.
posted by salvia at 4:31 PM on September 2, 2017 [2 favorites]

First of all it sounds very much like the family is expecting you to work full time and care for two people who need full time care since they are convalescent.

I agree with all the practical advice. but the family, starting with the woman whose home it is, did not expect two adults to move into her home because they had nowhere else to go and never leave. plenty of people would have told the mother that not charging rent was bad mothering, co-dependence, only making it worse by leaving him unprepared for when she was no longer there to look after him and house him.

Which was factually wrong; it didn't make him more independent to ask for rent money he didn't have, no matter how low or symbolic the number was. but it's a common mistake. Many parents of adult children who don't/can't leave and support themselves are afraid to kick them out or refuse them re-entry, because they might die. but they try to make life there just difficult enough for the child that he will gather the will to leave on his own. I don't know if this ever works but it is advised by well-meaning busybodies to desperate elderly people, all the time. It sounds like a good idea when you don't have any others. So I very much doubt the family expected them to stick around so that they could exploit their labor. rather, they expected them to move out when things got rough because living there just wasn't worth it. and that didn't happen because they just didn't have the means. misery does not produce instant funds even though tough-love advocates seem to think it does.

I cannot repeat enough times that none of this is the OP's fault. maybe not the partner's fault, either, even before the recent breakdown. but the way the siblings have snapped into action to take their mother in when she needed it and the way they've made immediate moves to get her into a care facility the second she asked for it but apparently didn't push it on her before, this makes it clear that this isn't a simple toxic-family/good-scapegoat situation.

so I think working up reasons to believe this whole family is bad is obscuring the realer problem, which is that the OP is not herself a member of that family and therefore will not be saved by them as if she were, no matter how much she does for them. not even in the "controlling" way the partner fears for himself. this is a dangerous position to be in.
posted by queenofbithynia at 4:55 PM on September 2, 2017 [12 favorites]

the OP is not herself a member of that family and therefore will not be saved by them as if she were, no matter how much she does for them. not even in the "controlling" way the partner fears for himself. this is a dangerous position to be in.

This is the clearest and most concise way I can say it. People are concerned for you, OP, though they don't know how to solve your problem with unemployment.

As for your question, "how do I get work." For that, I could suggest you need to be looking into resources in the area, because there are organizations that help people find work so they don't become homeless - I'm sure if you told enough people in the mental health/homeless outreach people in your city your issue, you'd get a faster lead on a job. There must be some resource tucked away somewhere. To everyone here, your story checks out and we would set you up with a job if we knew of one, but you just need to tell more people in person what you need, find the equivalent of us here, but with a local city agency. Don't downplay what you can do in the workforce, just ask for help. Can one of us help you locate a resource or a helpline for people in your situation?
posted by benadryl at 5:08 PM on September 2, 2017

the OP is not herself a member of that family and therefore will not be saved by them as if she were, no matter how much she does for them. not even in the "controlling" way the partner fears for himself. this is a dangerous position to be in.

This this this. Like, I get that you feel like you are a BS-and-L unit, rather than a singular individual, but the speed with which the siblings are moving to handle the mom issue suggests that they just don't see you as a part of the family - possibly because of those cultural factors, because you aren't married to L, they see you more as a weird attachment that is coming with L, rather than someone that they need to actually work to save.

So any saving of L that they do is unlikely to include you attached to it, and you really, really need to figure out if you can save L yourself or if you just need to do what's best for you and let L's family handle L. It sounds like a lot, and you're not a bad partner if you say 'we are just not capable of running a household together right now.'
posted by corb at 8:29 PM on September 2, 2017 [9 favorites]

It's not that I'm "too good" for a minimum wage job. It's that I'm terrible at them due to autism and ADHD and stress, and I will inevitably be bullied and then fired from such a job. I'm good at thinking and writing, but terrible at doing things quickly, thinking on my feet, and multitasking.

Perhaps I'm wrong, but it doesn't sound to me like you've ever earned enough money as a remote or freelance "knowledge worker" to support yourself in the present situation, and now you've barely been working outside the home at all for somewhere in the vicinity of two years (?). That makes the idea a dream that you cannot afford to cling to. Rent has to be paid somewhere and food stamps won't go on forever.

I'm not saying that this situation is fair, or is in any way your fault, but it is the situation you're in. You need a job you can get and hold at least for a little while that pays enough to cover your rent. If that means a job you don't feel "cut out for," then...that's what it means.

Also, from your prior have essentially allowed yourself to be pressured and backed into full-time unpaid caregiving for someone you had no prior connection to. This is extraordinary and suggests to me that you are willing to go along with what strong-willed or needy and exploitative people tell you you have to do. You have to make some actual conscious choices this time, starting with whether you can actually continue to maintain a household with your partner. I'm not saying you have to break up with him or anything, but I am saying that you have to think carefully about whether you are actually capable of caring for someone else under the real, actual circumstances that you are actually in, rather than in the dream world where someone who hasn't been able to function in the job market for a decade suddenly is able to find remote/freelance "knowledge work" that pays the bills (something that people with actual resumes and current skills can find quite challenging).

Because, yeah, whatever his siblings might do for your partner in crisis, they sure aren't going to save you. In fact, they may well regard you as a leech and an enabler and be glad to be rid of you. That means you need to worry about you.
posted by praemunire at 12:27 AM on September 3, 2017 [8 favorites]

Speaking from dealing with this stuff with my mother, this is definitely not necessarily true and why it is worth getting a lawyer involved.

Sorry but.... I too have dealt with this issue, with a lawyer planning for an elderly relative. And yes there are ways to sort of work around it with a lawyer but you have to put assets in trust *5 years* before nursing home admission under what is called Medicaid's "60 month look back rule." Or pay major penalties. Look it up. I am not wrong, alas. Especially because there doesn't seem to be a living spouse of mom in the picture who could hold half her assets immediately.

Basically, with two months before nursing home admission, OP's mother in law's income and assets are available to the nursing home. Some of her assets might be clawed back after she dies by Medicaid too.

By all means ask a lawyer. You need a lawyer for any of this.

Here is an explainer from Forbes for the 60 month "look back rule."

Doesn't sound like OL can afford a lawyer anyway.
posted by spitbull at 3:53 AM on September 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

Also my advice to OP, based on reading previous questions, is to get the hell away from this partner's family. And the partner himself, frankly, if he can't separate from this situation.
posted by spitbull at 3:57 AM on September 3, 2017 [4 favorites]

This might sound very meta and probably the exact thing you're trying to get away from....but can you get a job as a caregiver? Maybe even one where where you can live in house? What I'm suggesting is to take all the experience of looking after these family members and monetise it. I would offer my services as live in care/companionship for someone infirm, you'd have your rent covered so you wouldn't be homeless and you'd be getting paid for what you're doing for free right now. Ask your partner's family to write you a recommendation and you could probably get employed quite quickly and get enough cash to get back on your feet. And hey, it's not retail.
posted by Jubey at 4:18 AM on September 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

This might sound very meta and probably the exact thing you're trying to get away from....but can you get a job as a caregiver?

I was wondering about this as well. I don't know details of this kind of employment, but I've heard that there is a pretty decent market for Certified Nursing Assistants, and I think the certification isn't too rigorous, so this might be something to look into, especially since you can cite this recent caregiving experience when applying to jobs.

In the more short term, have you considered applying for jobs through temp agencies? That can be stressful in its own way, but they are usually pretty good at placing people, and a lot of temp jobs are basic office work stuff like filing, as opposed to retail/restaurant jobs.
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:55 AM on September 3, 2017

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