Q: If she goes on Medicaid what will estate owe? Mom lives on her $1100 monthly Social security check. The house is paid off. She is on an Elder Care program repaying her up to $200 per month for home expenses. This is a Medicaid program. After selling the house she could rent an apartment for $350 a month. She is concerned that the money gifted to the children four of them will be required to be paid back to Medicaid if she were to go into a long-term care center.
A: I urge you to consult with a local attorney who is versed in Medicaid law. Generally, gifts, which are transfers for no consideration (something received in return less than fair market value), within 5 years of an application for Medicaid benefits, will disqualify the applicant from benefits. Therefore, your mother’s concerns are valid. If she gifts sums of money to children either while she is collecting Medicaid benefits or within 5 years of applying, she could be disqualified from receiving Medicaid. Your best bet is to have her hold off on making gifts and consult with a local elder law attorney. He or she can advise you as to how mom can legally “spend down” a portion of her wealth without running into Medicaid complications. It will be well worth the consultation fee.