Family takes care of family. It is a motto many believe in and live by, no matter what the circumstances or what the challenges that accompany it.
Sometimes parents are unable to take care of their own children so their parents, the grandparents, step in.
It is happening ever more often across the nation, leaving seniors, who may have health and financial issues, to take up the additional challenges of raising young children again when their peers are enjoying retirement.
When Betty Poppino’s six grandchildren needed someone to step in and take care of them, she didn’t hesitate. With her only income being her husband’s disability, she was sure she could still find a way to make it work out.
But then Poppino got sick. It dragged on for weeks and it was hindering her ability to care for the youngsters in her charge.
She found out after visiting the emergency room that not only did she have pneumonia, but apparently she also no longer had health insurance.
But the bad news didn’t stop there for the struggling grandmother-turned-stand-in-parent. Poppino explained to KJRH, “I came home and called SoonerCare. They said I wasn’t in compliance with child support.”
From there, the situation just got worse and bills were piling up, according to Poppino, “So, I went to the child support agency and did what they needed me to do. The next thing I know, I get a letter that I need to do something with taxes, but I don’t have any income coming in besides my husband‘s disability.”
Despite that, she was still told she had to file a 1095-b form with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) if she wanted to correct the situation.
It was at that point she felt overwhelmed and realized she desperately needed help resolving the ever-increasing pile of problems. That is when she reached out to KJHR’s “Problem Solvers” team for help.
Poppino explained her reasoning, “I was lost…it seems like every time I come, it would [be] something else. Finally, I called channel 2 because I didn’t know what else to do.”
And help her they did. Within hours of them getting to work for her, she got the miraculous phone call she’d been anxiously awaiting.
Poppino shared what Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) told her, “They didn’t put in the right code through the child support office. And as far as the IRS paper, I wasn’t working, I had no income, so there was no reason for me to file.”
The grandmother shared with KJRH what her situation had been like, “It’s a struggle. I mean . . . I love my grandkids. I took them because I wanted them to stay together, so they’ll have a good home, a roof over their head . . . But I just needed to make sure I was healthy enough to take care of them.”
Now thanks to the efforts of a team of people dedicated to help members of the public who have nowhere else to turn, Poppino and her grandkids have a fighting chance of seeing her desire come to fruition.
Many news stations across the country offer similar help in the form of consumer protection or helping those at their wit’s end, the end results being broadcast in their programming.
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