18 year old son-life after residential


New Member
Haven't been on the boards in a while...My bipolar etc. son has been in residential since February (after a really traumatic suicide attempt and many years of hospitalizations and other Residential Treatment Center (RTC) stays) and will be discharged upon graduation (probably next spring). Now that he is 18 (since May) it has been difficult to keep him there but this week he is committed to staying until he graduates.

The staff at the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) is going to help him apply for disability and they are working with someone at our local county mental health department to get him set up for services.

My husband and I are going back and forth about whether he should come home or live independently. We agree that he would probably do better living on his own (he is too comfortable here-doesn't follow our simple house rules on home passes) but my husband would feel better knowing our son was OK, etc. So we are looking at our options...our son is tired of living in a group home situation (he is not patient with other people to put it basically) and would like to live at home. We can't afford to support him living independently and I doubt that if he qualifies for disability (which the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) seems to think wont be a problem) that he will have enough money to live in an apartment in this area. Housing is very impacted and cost of living is high (Bay area).

If he lives at home, will he still be able to get benefits? I tried to call Social Security but was on hold forever. And would it be disability or SSI? Still a little confused about the difference. Is there any way to calculate how much he would receive so we could find out if he could actually live somewhere else other than home? Sorry for so many questions-I'm just trying to plan for the future as we are also having to file for bankruptcy due to medical bills for both my son and husband and an extended period of unemployment. Our lawyer wants us to estimate how much we will need to contribute to our son's living expenses and needs some kind of proof/estimate and I have no idea where to start.

Thank you if you read all this-any advice or information is appreciated!

Son 18 Bipolar/ODD/ADHD/Schizoaffective?


Well-Known Member
My son has a form of autism. We were also told he'd get disability and he did. Trust the professionals. "Bipolar" is something that really gets disability for people who have it. However, he will get much less if he lives at home,. At least my son did.

In our case, my son wanted to be out on his own and he can do it quite well with some supports. He has a case manager and a secure part-time job plus his disability. We didn't care how long he lived at home because he is a very calm kid, but he himself wanted to get his own place. It has been good for him to be independent.

Your son would be on SSDI.It would give him insurance as well as money to survive on.

If you don't get along with your son, think long and hard about how much you want to argue with him and enforce boundaries before deciding to let him come home. If he is dangerous or violent, and if you have other kids, think about them too. Pets? Well, I'm an animal lover so...I'd think about that as well. Maybe tell him the rules before he comes back home and see how he receives your rules. He may decide he would rather live in an apartment. His social security could cover the rent for a small studio or one bedroom place. If he can't get along with the people at his group home, will he be able to live in harmony with you and your husband? Usually our adult kids treat us worse and blame us for everything.

Why do you have a lawyer in this? Why would you contribute to your son's care? You don't have to. We don't have money available to take care of our son outside of at home, and nobody has ever told us we have to pay anything. We probably would if we could comfortably do it, but it would be voluntary. Now that your son is a legal adult, it's different than when he was a minor. You really don't need a lawyer for this. You need to talk to your local Dept. of Aging and Disabilities. I'd be leery of your lawyer...he is not the one who can help your son and he doesn't need to have proof of YOUR finances now that your son is eighteen. That makes no sense.

I think you might be able to apply for Disability online. I would get all of his medical records. You'll need them. Since he spent four years in a group home, he will likely get the benefits the first time he applies.

Good luck, whatever you decide to do. It certainly is not easy.
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My son who is bipolar and receives around $965 a month plus he also gets Medicaid. I do not know how it is figured as he does not have a strong work history. We are in Louisiana. I have a brother who receives SSI which is supplemental income and he gets around $600 a month plus Medicaid and food stamps. He is double my sons age with stronger work record. I don't know how they calculate it. I have always worked and at 60 I guess I will always. Hmmm, maybe I should apply! It is abused by so many and so many can't get it that really need it.