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Lanieob Lanieob is offline
 
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Having a Nervous Breakdown- toughest situation possible!
Old 09-16-2020, 07:51 AM
 
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Having a Nervous Breakdown- toughest situation possible!
I would so, so grateful for your thoughts and advice. I find myself teetering on the edge of a nervous breakdown. I am a kindergarten teacher of 25+ years and turned 65 this past June. Last spring, we began remote learning due to Covid 19. During this time, starting in April, my husband a dialysis patient, starting having constant health issues- medical appointments, hospitalizations, cardiac procedures, etc. His health has been in serious decline since then. We were not required to Zoom at that time and I chose not to, because of my husband’s health issues- I did not want to be live in-case. I worked with my K team to design weekly lessons for parents in a Seesaw format.
It seemed to to work pretty well and most families participated.
Fast forward to now- we are required in Kindergarten to do daily Zoom morning meetings, math and small groups. Frankly- the training the district provided was minimal. I brought everything I could home from my classroom in my husband’s van and set up a classroom at home. I thought this would be the best option- as we are allowed to work from home. This week I had my Zoom meetings- Morning Meetings I felt was a total disaster- and I had a whole detailed plan. Parents could not get in, parents saying they couldn’t see the mute/ unmute cards I was holding up to practice, that they couldn’t hear me, couldn’t see a You Tube read/ aloud etc. Kids not listening, talking constantly while I was talking- they are only 5 after all! A real !@# show! This is not the way I want to teach Kindergarten- but no choice, I know.
In addition- on my first day- my husband was released from a rehab hospital and came home that afternoon. The doctor told me he could not be left alone.
I felt like my head was going to explode. I called my principal and told him what was going on- he did not know quite how bad my husband’s health had gotten. I told him I thought I would be able to handle things- but I wasn’t sure now- plus we are going into a hybrid model later. He immediately got me a sub for this week and told me to think about what I wanted to do.
My question- I am 65- I could retire. I was hoping to soldier on until next June. My pension would be less if I retired now- but not by a lot. My husband has many medications- so that might be difficult as Medicare has a significant copay. I am in good health with minimal medications. A FMLA wouldn’t work as it is without pay. I am so afraid that if I try to make it through the year- I will get sick. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


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Breakdown
Old 09-16-2020, 08:10 AM
 
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Go to your HR department right now and ask again about FMLA, a leave of absence, disability pay....what might they be able to offer you.

If there is no option, can you get someone to help at home for a few hours? Just til June?
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Old 09-16-2020, 08:32 AM
 
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Take a hard look at the numbers. Exactly, in dollars, how much difference per week are you torturing yourself for? When you do your calculations don’t forget that you will no longer be paying into your pension, or social security, or union dues. Compare actual take home (before taxes) to what you’d get as a pension (before taxes). Check if your state is one that taxes pensions (mine is).

You pay medical now. Compare that to your Medicare B cost plus the cost of a supplement and prescription coverage. You may be able to get reasonable dental through your state retired union or AAA. Is DH retired? Is he on Medicare?

Consider your health and that of your husband. If you go back to actual school will you have to hire someone to be with him?

You have two questions you need to answer. Can you afford to leave now? Do you want to?

Think it over carefully. You have a lot to consider.
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Old 09-16-2020, 08:47 AM
 
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I agree with the advice to REALLY look at your finances before you retire.

And as for your first day...

my first day was literally the worst ever. Same issues. Some parents couldn't get on. Some couldn't see me. No one could hear the videos I played, everyone came on at incorrect times, half my contact info was bad, it was really truly terrible. I left that day thinking that parents were all going to unenroll their kids because I was truly a terrible teacher that day.

Then the second day was a bit better. Third day was decent. And now, 4 weeks in, I actually feel like I'm an okay teacher. Not great...I still don't like this virtual learning, but I no longer feel totally defeated and lost on how to make everything work.


As a solution for your husband, if you keep your job, could you allocate your paycheck to hire someone to be home with you? That might be a good compromise between retiring and working and it will also give you some time to not be his caretaker, as that can be incredibly draining and exhausting if you're doing it 24/7.
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Old 09-16-2020, 10:39 AM
 
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Have you looked into Medicare Advantage plans available in your area? I think they pay a lot of things that traditional Medicare doesn't. I know the plan I have does. Mine is actually the Medicare Advantage plan offered through my school system so I am lucky in that they still pay a share of the premium like they did when I was working. It would be worth checking into to see if that would be a good option. I think there are MA plans that are $0 or very low premiums in many areas. You do still have to pay the traditional Medicare premium though, I did not realize that and was surprised by that.

You said your pension would be less if you retire now but not by a lot. It might be worth getting a little less for your husband's and your health and peace of mind.

I'm sorry you are going through this. I know how hard and stressful it is - I went through the same thing with my husband and weighing whether to retire to care for him or try to work another two years to have a bigger pension, and that was before Covid19. Remember to consider your own health and the toll the stress of the situation will cause as you weigh your options.


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Please immediately call United Health Care
Old 09-16-2020, 11:18 AM
 
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or Humana, or whichever company is in your area and ask for a Medicare Advantage Plan. We each pay $16 a month for our United Healthcare Medicare Advantage plan, and it takes care of the 20% that Medicare does not pay, plus medications. They have a tier system. Tiers 1 and 2 meds are basically free if you order from UHC's mail order pharmacy. My sweetie gets five types of meds free. Tier 3 has a $12 copay. Tiers 4 and 5 have higher copays, but it is way better than paying 20% or completely out of pocket. There are no income restrictions. They have more expensive plans, but the $16 a month plan works fine for us.
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I am so sorry all of this is hitting you at
Old 09-16-2020, 02:09 PM
 
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1x. You have worked most of your life if you are able to retire. You deserve the time you and your husband have left together.
Since it is just a small amount of $ you'd lose, the $ probably is not worth your sanity or time that you could spend with your husband.
Last year, I was in a similar situation when it came to losing a family member and feeling like I did not know if I could do it medically another year. ( This yr.)
I have been in a lot of physical pain due to an accident.
I retired young, but with many years in the system. I started young.
I am checking out the medical advice you are being given from PP even though I am not old enough to qualify yet.
Life is short. You have worked most of your life. I think it is time to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor. ( Just my opinion.)
I am thankful I did.
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Old 09-16-2020, 03:05 PM
 
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I agree with all the above posters. There are supplement plans for Medicare. Start looking right now. Get in or make a phone appointment to get your numbers exactly.

My thoughts- you and/or your husband are not guaranteed another year or even another month or day. Covid stuff will be ongoing for quite a while still- maybe even into NEXT year, so it isn't like you just have to make it a little bit. It could be the rest of the year. And yest, we are in week 6 and it is better, but it still is harder than in person.

If you have to return to work as a sub in future years, you should have that option. But killing yourself right now in this situation? Probably isn't worth what you will get from working another year.

Do what you need to do for NOW. The future is not guaranteed for any of us.
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Old 09-16-2020, 07:59 PM
 
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As a dialysis patient, does your husband qualify for medicare or special health coverage? If so, that might answer your concerns about medical costs if you do decide to retire now. You might want to talk with AARP/United Health Care or an insurance broker.

Hard decisions. I wish you well.
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Old 09-17-2020, 02:20 AM
 
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Marguerite2 has the right answer. Your financial situation probably wont be significantly impacted by retiring now, but you need to find out.


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Old 09-17-2020, 11:53 AM
 
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You posted this on the retirement board and got lots of good advice. What exactly are you looking for?
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Hang In There
Old 09-19-2020, 06:52 PM
 
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This does sound very stressful! This whole thing is just so unprecedented it is hard to say what the options are. I know some districts allow teachers to request to be home if they feel they are at risk. I would most definitely talk to the HR people in your district to see what they are doing related to Covid, even though you are ok your husband is high risk so it would make sense you would have an option to teach from home. ( Although you did say that has been a challenge for the kindies) I have also heard of people getting unemployment benefits if they need to take care of a spouse or family member due to the virus ( Not sure if the risk factor counts?). This is such a tough decision, have you really crunched your budget to see what the monthly difference will be if you retire now? And what about SS? To budget for the medical go on the average for the last two years so you have a real idea of your average monthly medical cost. Just doing the actual real budget can ease some stress if you are not already doing that, that way you really know where you stand. Best of luck to you and your husband, and thank you for teaching the kids!
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Old 09-19-2020, 10:53 PM
 
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Something else aside from finances to consider: Will your husband's health possibly be jeopardized by you being in more contact with others once your school goes hybrid again and you're in person?

This year is a LOT. If you can swing it financially, I think the lessening of stress, the time to care for your husband, and the ability to exit from a very difficult situation would make it all worthwhile.
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A Great Big Thank You!
Old 09-21-2020, 06:11 AM
 
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Thank you all so very, very much for your great advice and wisdom. I am going to take a leave and give myself time to think things through- and then I will make a decision.
Your overwhelming kindness and compassion is so greatly appreciated!
Please keep my husband and I in your prayers.
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