Q: I moved in with my mom about 2 years back. We got my name on the home, so this is all done. My mom is in her late 80’s and I have two brothers on SSI. I know about the 5 year look back period. One of my brothers still wants our mom to help support him, I have explained to her I do not have an issue with this- however, I told her if she needed care from Medicaid, then what funds she give him, the money has to come from some place so I would have to pay it. I am not willing to support my brother. So, what do I need to do to prepare for the lawyer- just state what I have said here? (South Fayette Twp., PA)
A: Consult with an attorney versed in Medicaid regulations. It sounds like you are aware of the impact of Medicaid in that money paid to the brother could be considered gifts or transfers without consideration during the Medicaid look back period of 5 years and render your mother ineligible for Medicaid benefits to the extent of the value of the unauthorized transfers. An attorney may be able to utilize a caretaker contract between you and she to shelter some of her money and advise you on how you can utilize your move-in caretaker status to possibly shelter your mother’s home from Medicaid Estate Recovery.
Q: Mother was taking care of grandmother. Mother then dies. Grandson steps in to take care of grandmother. Together they get a Quit Claim Deed. Grandmother gets injury to foot. The doctor advises ER visit. Grandmother kept 3 days then moved to nursing facility for “rehabilitation”. The nursing facility moves grandmother into extended stay. Medicaid takes over after 3months. Medicaid put lien on house approximately 4 months later. Quit Claim Deed was already in place but not recorded yet. (West Mifflin, PA)
A: Medicaid can look back for a period of five years at all transfers of real and personal property by a Medicaid applicant. If the transfer was done without fair consideration, for example, by gift, the transferred property can be considered part of the applicant’s estate. If so, Medicaid can exclude the applicant from funding to the extent of the value of the property. This is what sounds like happened here. It would be worth your while to have the case reviewed by an attorney versed in Medicaid regulations. There may be an exception if a disabled child was living the home or a child serving as a caretaker of the applicant lived in the home for a two-year period prior to hospitalization. In addition, there are permissible exclusions in the spend down process that you may want to be advised on.
Q: How can my friend gift away money to his nieces and nephews and avoid a penalty from Medicaid? (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: No one can answer this question without knowing all the facts surrounding the potential applicant including but not limited to age health, assets and how they are titled, health insurance resources, etc. You need to consult with an attorney versed in Medicaid regulations. I think you may be confusing “unlimited gifts” with the Federal Gift tax exemption, which has nothing to do with Medicaid. The basic idea is that all transfers for less than fair market consideration (deal and gifts to relatives) within the five-year period prior to a Medicaid application for benefits, and render the applicant ineligible for Medicaid benefits to the extent of the value of assets transferred. An attorney experienced with regulations of Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Service’s administration of the Federal Medicaid program, can guide you and advise if any and what exemptions may be available to your applicant.
Q: Can I legally hide money to be approved for Medicaid by paying off my adult children’s credit card bill directly to the credit card company? Even if I never transferred money to my adult children’s bank account.
A: Your bank statements will be scrutinized in the Medicaid eligibility process and such a payment would be considered to be a gift or a transfer of money to benefit another person with no consideration received in exchange. It could and likely will render you ineligible for Medicaid benefits to the extent of the dollar value of the transfer. I would consult with an elder law attorney to determine what monies you can shield from Medicaid.