DC Trawler

HHS will help you right into the poorhouse

Depressing read of the day courtesy of the Des Moines Register:

As if 79-year-old Bob Queener hasn’t been through enough in the past 16 months, now his nursing home is giving him the boot.

The trouble began in December 2009 when the state yanked him out of his tidy, mortgage-free home on Des Moines’ east side, supposedly because he could no longer take care of himself and his family wasn’t moving fast enough to find round-the-clock care.

Queener suffers from mild dementia and mild autism. He doesn’t reason or remember the way he used to, and sometimes he gets agitated.

But he’s conversational and alert enough to wonder where all his money went. Before the Department of Human Services came after him, he had about $160,000 in the bank.

Now there’s a few hundred in a checking account, and he has until May 16 to find another place to live. Last week, the people who take care of Queener at Trinity Center at Luther Park gave notice: He owed $6,450, with another $6,655 due at the end of the month.

Queener gets about $1,800 a month, which qualifies him for government help; he has almost no liquid assets. Yet he can’t go on Medicaid because he still owns a house he doesn’t live in.