JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Lori Lapasnick feels helpless. She doesn't have a power of attorney, but she is taking care of ex-husband Don Riggs, and Hank and Ruby his dogs.
"I am his caretaker," she said, "I don't have a power of attorney, but he's given me verbal consent."
The relationship may seem complicated, at first blush. Lapasnick was married to and divorced from Don Riggs twice. Even so, she said she has always been his rock.
"He just asked me to marry him again before all this happened," she said.
But now, the former Department of Defense employee is hospitalized in intensive care and Lapasnick said he's in jeopardy of losing his workers comp benefits.
"He's going to lose his home," she said, "He's gonna come home to nothing."
Riggs has to respond to worker's comp questionnaire by August 19 to prove that he is still eligible. The problem is he has been in his current state, incapacitated, since July 3.
"He's not capable of filling out a letter, speaking, writing, nothing," said Lapasnick.
She said she has tried to communicate her ex-husband's condition to the Department of Labor, but she has hit the bureaucratic wall. Lapasnick said no one is listening and Riggs cannot afford to lose his much-needed health insurance.
"If they cut his benefits, his health care won't get paid," said Lapasnick, "His Blue Cross Blue Shield won't get paid."
She has her own health struggles and is facing surgery, but feels her fight is small compared to the one her ex-husband is engaged in. She called it the fight of his life.
"I'd like to see that workman's comp continue to pay him so that I can at least keep things going," she said, "in hopes that he will get well and have a home to come home to."
The workers comp regional office in Atlanta is now reviewing what can be done in a complex situation where a recipient is hospitalized and can't respond.
Mike D'Aquino said there has to be a procedure, but it will take a few days to find out what exactly Riggs or Lapasnick can do.
First Coast News