At the intersection where Foreclosure Ave. crosses Health Care Blvd. lives a California couple who had to choose between mortgage and the health insurance needed to cover the wife’s late-stage amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Until recently, it looked like they would be forced to vacate the house they’d bought 15 years ago, but Bank of America has decided to delay the eviction until after the wife’s death.
The problems began more than six years ago, when the wife’s ALS was misdiagnosed as carpal tunnel surgery, leading to several costly surgeries that did nothing to slow the growing weakness in her arms.
She left her job as a nursing assistant in 2005 with the intention of recuperating and eventually getting back to work. To cover her medical costs and other bills, they refinanced their home, figuring that they could get back in the black once she started working again.
But that never happened, as her condition worsened and her ALS was finally diagnosed in 2007, the same year her husband’s construction business went bust.
At this point, the only way for them to guarantee they would have the health insurance needed to cover her treatments was for the husband to not find new work and for them both to remain on Supplemental Security Income. That $700 monthly payment, along with the $1,100/month the husband received as her In-Home Supportive Services caregiver, was all the family had to live on, meaning those mortgage payments had to stop. Earning any more money would disqualify them for publicly supported Medi-Cal coverage.
They attempted to enter into the bank’s hardship program in 2009, but the wife was unable to attend the mandatory credit counseling sessions. So, after not making payments on their mortgage, the bank foreclosed on the property in March.
Once the Sacramento Bee reached out to Bank of America about the couple’s story, the bank decided to halt the eviction for the time being.
“They called and said it’s on hold until Claire dies, and then they’ll give me additional time to grieve before I have to be out,” the husband tells the Bee. “Praise God. It’s a miracle. It’s a big relief… They said I should spend time with my wife and take care of her.”
Thanks to Julie for the tip!