Q: Hi. Looking for assistance on the Medicaid look-back period, details below. My mom “loaned” my sister $7000.00 3 years ago. My sister said she would pay her back but who knows if she will. I know Medicaid looks back 5 years. If her money runs out, what will happen if my sister hasn’t repaid the money? They will throw her out on the street? If my sister can repay the money (or if I can and choose to do that for her), is there a specific way I have to do so? The money was just removed from my mom’s account at the bank and handed to my sister. Could I just deposit the same amount and it is ok that there is no proof where it came from? And is it 5 years from the day Medicaid would pay or 5 years from the date I am filling out the application? Can I not even apply for Medicaid till the money is repaid? (Bridgeville, PA)
A: Do not even attempt to handle this without the advice of an experienced elder law or estate attorney who understands Medicaid. You are playing with fire. It may be possible to address the “loan” even if it’s not repaid and still avoid a penalty period should your mother need to apply for Medicaid. However, that depends on many factors that are best addressed in person with an experienced elder law attorney. Generally, a gift like this can potentially exclude your mother from receiving an amount of Medicaid funding equal to the amount of the disqualifying gift. Again, seek an opinion.