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The Missing Loot

Linda lost Greg on December 20, 2018. A year earlier he had received an inheritance of $63,000. Linda wasn’t sure what Greg had done with the inheritance, but she sure could use it now. Her meager income put her just above the Federal Poverty level, which meant she didn’t qualify for much-needed assistance. Due to her significant health issues, Linda could not work and even short trips to the store or to church took their toll on her. Since Greg’s death, she had more bad days than good ones.

When she contacted Wings for Widows, she was depressed and desperate for help. Coaches Chris and Maureen first met Linda on July 12, 2019. Their initial meeting with Linda raised serious concerns about her financial situation. She simply did not understand what she had or didn’t have, and there were very few records to help her sort it out. There were stacks of mail. Everywhere. The first thing they attacked was getting her organized. During this process, Linda discovered more than $500 in cash and gift cards from the funeral.

Linda explained that Greg had purchased $15,000 of gold and silver coins just before he died, but her sister and brother-in-law had taken them for safe keeping. In fact, she was certain Greg had given her $15,000, but she couldn’t find any record of it. Was it the coins o something else? She was convinced the money had gone missing shortly after Greg passed away. Linda didn’t have enough income to pay all her monthly bills, so finding the missing loot was important.

Maureen accompanied Linda to her bank and got copies of all her statements. They also found that Greg still had open accounts and moved his $6,000 balance to Linda. The $500 in cash and gifts was deposited too. His accounts and the joint account were closed.

They then began working through Linda’s bank statements to track deposits and cancelled checks to understand what Linda had or hadn’t received. Where was the missing loot? After hours of painstaking work, Maureen was able to determine that Linda had in fact received $15,000 in March 2019. This jived with a calendar entry of a visit to the bank with her sister and brother-in-law. It was a relief that it hadn’t been lost or stolen, but it didn’t help with Linda’s financial situation.

While Maureen was helping to track down the missing loot, Chris was busy contacting various local and state agencies to find Linda assistance. He connected Linda with Ramsey County Human Services and other financial assistance services. Linda received help and additional short-term financial aid. Chris also investigated her UCare Medicare Advantage Plan and spoke with her coordinator to understand the services Linda was receiving and the out-of-pocket costs associated with the plan. Finally, Chris reviewed Linda’s expenses to see what could be reduced or eliminated. He even explored Section 8 housing opportunities. Ultimately, the county helped Linda qualify for Ryan White housing subsidy that reduced her rental costs by 70%. We worked with Linda to establish a budget to ensure she could live within her means, which she is doing. And she still has the $15,000 of coins for a rainy day.

Linda was Greg’s sole caregiver in their apartment for nearly six months before he died from bladder cancer. He died peacefully, at home, and the biggest blessing was that Greg was able to reconcile with his estranged brother before he died.

Since working with Wings for Widows, Linda is having many more good days than bad ones. Her financial situation has stabilized. Linda still struggles with medical issues but is optimistic. She attends mass at Our Lady of Peace regularly and volunteers with the Divine Mercy Program. She regularly attends our events that encourage community and provides education to help widows find purpose and move forward. “I’m doing well,” she says, and knows that Wings for Widows will always be there for her.