Joe & Debbie's Lovin' 'em Back Fund
A little background first. Debbie was a stay at home mom who took care of everything at home while Joseph worked long hours. One thing she always told me that she loved about being at home besides being there for her kids was how she wanted to be there when anyone else needed her. As she got into her 40s, her health began to slowly decline and they had a hard time figuring out exactly what was happening. She had a heart attack in 2006 and just a few short years later was diagnosed with Lupus. By the time she was in her 50s her health was declining dramatically and quickly. She suffered from a heart attack, daily pain, weakness and depression. As her physical limitations grew, so did the depression. All of the things she was able to do for others in the past were suddenly no longer a possibility.
Joseph worked incredibly hard to provide for his family for many years. However, the WAY he provided had to change dramatically after suffering from a heart attack requiring triple bypass open-heart surgery when he was only 42 years old! Although this was a hard and horrible time, God was doing great things! To make a long story short, after suffering from debilitating panic attacks for almost 20 years, God healed him! Debbie prayed when he was in surgery for God to heal his heart and she knew then that God healed more than just his heart!! But we never imagined that the years following his heart attack he would stop managing grocery stores and pursue full time ministry. He has been traveling, singing and sharing the gospel through music for the past 15 years! He has sacrificed SO much but always felt that he was doing what God had called him to do. However, doing this was increasingly hard with Debbie's health decreasing and him wanting to be home with her. They were blessed with an RV and it was a HUGE answer to prayers. We thought she could travel with him and see something besides the walls of her room.
When things were already difficult, Joseph's gospel group decided to make a change which meant he couldn't continue with them. So thankfully they had this RV and so they made the decision to move in to it full-time. In the process of trying to downsize from their apartment to an RV, Joseph began to have chest pain, nausea and weakness. This past week he had a heart cath which showed that one of his old bypasses were blocked but that it had been blocked for a long time. This would not cause him to have another heart attack but would cause him to have those symptoms if under too much physical strain or emotional stress. Well that is exactly what this past month has been! Lots of emotional stress and physical strain! Now our parents are both in a depleted state physically and under huge financial strain. Devoting yourself to ministry most of the time has its financial difficulties but that is when we humbly ask for support and when our family, friends, and church have the opportunity to give back. We know our parents are loved by so many! We also know that so many of you have offered to help and wondered how you could help. The most difficult things right now are needing financial support for medical bills, medicine, and living expenses while Joseph is out of work (also continuing to pay rent until Joseph can recover and move into and drive the RV). If we could start "lovin' 'em back" by giving financially, it would not only make a huge impact for the obvious survival reasons, but it would also help lift them up spiritually and emotionally to see how well they are loved!
My dad, thanks to some of you generous people, was able to get the physical test at Floyd that his neurologist needed in order to write a letter stating he was physically unable to work. He took the test, it showed clearly that not only was he unable to work but that he wouldn’t even be able to do sedentary work. He got the letter from his neurologist and took it to the Social Security office. Long story short they wouldn’t even take the letter because they said he did not have enough work credits to get disability and he also made $40 too much from his Social Security retirement benefits to be able to qualify for SSI. I am at a loss. We all are.
Also, my mom had the exact same outcome.
So, we must move forward. I believe the next step is talking to a lawyer. I would REALLY appreciate suggestions for a good lawyer!
My parents have been working hard to research their prescriptions to reduce costs. They are now picking up their meds at 3 different pharmacies across Rome but those are the cheapest places for those meds and it will save them over $100 a month. So thankful the Lord helped them through figuring that out.
Please continue praying that we can have the wisdom to know what needs to be done and that my parents will not be discouraged. Thank you all for your continued love and support!
I wanted to give you an update on our parents. I haven’t updated much because there hasn’t been a lot of good news and as many of you know, getting help from government programs can be a long nightmare. I will just sum it all up the best I can.
They finally got food stamps, however it doesn’t cover toiletries such as toilet paper, paper towels, deodorant, toothpaste etc. They were approved and should have received the money in November but the people at the DFACS office made many mistakes and long story short after lots of calls my parents got the assistance the last week of January. So we are thankful for that!
Our mom, Debbie’s application for SS disability was denied because she never worked enough years to get enough work credits to be approved. So then we applied for SSI disability as directed by the SS office. But she was denied that also. I’ve heard that people always get denied and you should try again or get denied once and you can get a lawyer, right? So that’s what I was planning to do until I realized that the reason she got denied was because apparently my dad “makes too much money.” We were able to get him drawing his Social Security retirement benefits early so he gets $1300 a month. And that’s all the income they are receiving to live on right now. Keep in mind that they spend around $400 a month on prescription medication... so really they live on $900 a month for bills, utilities, Dr. appointments, RV expenses, car and RV insurance, non-food items, etc....but he makes too much apparently so re-filling won’t help. So next step is applying for Medicaid or Obamacare to get help with the healthcare bills that way.
My dad’s tremors have not improved and have actually slightly worsened over the past few weeks. The first three rounds of meds gave him horrible side effects and he was honestly close to death during that time. It was a horrible time for him physically and emotionally. Currently he is on a medication that is typically given for nerve pain just as a last resort for something to calm the tremors but it is not helping. He was told by the neurologist that there’s not a lot of medication or treatment for essential tremors and that they have basically exhausted all of their options to help him. So in trying to get him now on disability the doctor said there is a process they have to go through for that to happen. There is a test that he has to take that’s about five or six hours long at Floyd medical center. They will do a series of tests and will be able to confirm that with his physical condition he is unable to work and with that recommendation the neurologist will then be able to write a letter stating he is officially unable to work. She said all he has to do is take that to the Social Security office and he will be able to get disability without going through the long process. So without insurance the test is $1200 (remember he only makes $1300 a month) and he must pay $600 upfront. They will need help paying for the test but once it’s done she said it will not be difficult to get on SS Disability.
This has been such a difficult change in their lives and it seems like there’s a new snag around every corner. My dad is no longer able to safely drive the RV so he has had help from family getting to the grocery store and doctors appointments. He can drive his car short distances but I worry that he probably shouldn’t. Please continue praying for them as my mom’s mental disabilities limit the physical help they can receive from friends and family. However, my dad is still the same social butterfly who needs to be around people and truly misses being able to travel around and see his precious friends and family. Its very difficult emotionally for him to allow people to see him in this condition but his hopes for his condition improving definitely dwindled after hearing the neurologist say they have pretty much exhausted their treatment options for his essential tremors. So please continue to pray and consider helping them pay for the test at Floyd. Thank you friends!
My dad isn't doing very well. The tremor meds do not help. In fact they make him feel washed out, tired and nauseous and still don't make the tremors stop. He is having a hard time driving the RV at all now too so we need to find a more stationary place with power, water and sewage.
We are working this week on getting them on disability and what ever else there is to help like food stamps and Obamacare for health expenses.
They are realizing that this is not getting better quickly so the hopes of getting better and getting back to work so he can provide like he always has is just not realistic at this point. When he was singing with the Inspirations, they were doing well, had gotten on a budget that worked for them and he was able to not worry about money and focus on taking care of Mama. However, losing that job and the rapid decline of his health was not something he saw coming.
This has been difficult on my dad not just physically but emotionally as well. Please pray for peace, healing and guidance for us to get them all set up with the long term help they need. In the meantime, also please pray about making another donation. The increase in meds, doctors visits, food, RV regular expenses (not to mention paying for the generator malfunctioning twice) and doing it all with zero income and no chance of getting back to work has just eaten up every bit of the donations. They have lived on only $3600 for the past 5 months. I know y'all can do the math and see that when meds alone are around $400 a month that they have should be and are at the bottom of the barrel. Once they are on the government programs they should be able to get along ok without any more help from others but we definitely need help getting them what they need to live until it is all in order. So please pray about whether you feel you should give another donation to help them through this transition. Thank you all in advance and God bless you.