Early-onset dementia: Money issues

Early-onset dementia: Money issues

Finances are bound to be a concern if your spouse has received a diagnosis of dementia before age 65. As in many households, your partner’s job may cover important monthly bills. And perhaps essentials such as family health insurance or retirement funding.

In the early stages, your partner may be able to reduce hours or shift to a less stressful position. The longer they can continue working, the better, financially and for their self-esteem. Eventually, the dementia will make it impossible for your spouse to do their job. To avoid getting fired, your partner might talk to the doctor about “medical retirement” and applying for disability benefits. An estate planning attorney can offer wise counsel.

Research company policy concerning these issues:

  • Family Medical Leave benefits. For large and midsize companies, federal law stipulates that qualified employees can take off up to twelve weeks per year for medical and family reasons. This is unpaid time. But there’s no loss of job or benefits. (Also check out this option for yourself. You may need to take time off for caregiving.)
  • Early retirement. What does your partner have available by way of 401(k) or pension? Can they begin withdrawing funds before age 65 in the case of disability? What are the tax implications of early withdrawals?
  • COBRA (health insurance). Your partner may be able to retain the company’s medical policy for up to thirty-six months after leaving. But you will need to pay for it yourselves.

Government resources

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) may be available from the government.
  • Medicare is available for persons under age 65 once they have been on SSDI for at least twenty-four months.

A financial planner or accountant can also help you look at the larger picture. They can suggest tax deductions and ways to wisely access your resources. Consider working with an Aging Life Care Manager to explore other available benefits and community programs.