Dear Annie: No business between neighbors
Dear Annie: My spouse and I are in our 70s, with numerous health issues. We decided we needed to sell our large home and move to something easier to maintain. We made the mistake of hiring the younger brother (“Jim”) of our best friend and neighbor “Jane.” Both assured us this business relationship would have no impact on our friendship. After four months with no activity and a flare-up of health concerns, we asked Jim to terminate our selling contract. (We called Jane to let her know of our decision.) Jim had said he would end the selling contract that day, but then sent a text saying he couldn’t. We contacted his boss, who said it wouldn’t be a problem — and ended the contract. Now, Jane is no longer speaking to us. We have called and written, seeking a chance to talk with her further. Last night, we received a vile letter in the mail from her, saying we were never her friend if we could do such an awful thing.
Ironically, we now feel we must sell and will put the house on the market again as soon as our health and stamina permit. But we are grieving the loss of this dear friend. Please let your readers know the dangers of doing business with friends — or their relatives. — Mourning in Madison
Dear Mourning in Madison: Working with friends can be risky business indeed. That being said, you might want to examine the terminated contract to ensure there are no clauses that would prevent you from listing it with another real estate agent within a certain time frame. I’d hate for this sticky situation to become even messier.
Dear Annie: Concerning the letter from “Parents at a Crossroads,” whose son has mental health issues and is unemployed: Please advise the parents to encourage him to explore vocational rehabilitation services that are available for persons with disabilities. Each state has an organization under the U.S. Department of Education, which can provide evaluations and assistance in locating and maintaining employment to persons with disabilities. A variety of services can be provided at no cost to him including interview training, resume preparation, job-seeking assistance, job coaching and follow-ups after securing employment.
The names of the organizations vary by state but should not be difficult to locate. Typically, they are called Vocational Rehabilitation or something similar. I am a certified vocational evaluator. I evaluate persons with disabilities to make recommendations to such agencies concerning potential training or services that may be of assistance to help secure employment, identify and recommend types of positions and evaluate possible supports or accommodations that would be helpful. — Debra M.
Dear Debra M: Thank you for sharing your expertise and offering potential resources at the federal and state level.
Dear Annie: I love your column! Often, it seems writers of advice columns overlook a suggestion which would assist many writers. The letter from “Parents at a Crossroads” prompted me to write. He seems a fine candidate for applying for Social Security Disability benefits. As you can imagine, it requires significant medical documentation. And often takes many appeals and more paperwork, but it’s a great benefit for people struggling with medical issues that prevent them from holding down a job.
A look at the ssa.gov website would assist such readers about these benefits. One of the best aspects of this benefit is the access to Medicare benefits after two years on SSDI roles, regardless of age. — PNW Reader
Dear PNW Reader: Thank you for raising another important potential resource for this family. Readers can visit https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/disability for more information.