Medicaid is becoming increasingly difficult to qualify for. With stricter rules and longer periods of application review, it is critical that you seek the help of professional when filing for Medicaid. With nursing home costs exceeding $7,000 per month there is too much at risk to try and do it alone.
The Medicaid rule on gifting can pose a serious problem to those filing a Medicaid application on their own. The gifting rule states that there is a five year look back period for any gifts or transfers of assets which can result in a denial of Medicaid benefits.
Let’s say after filing your mom’s Medicaid application, you receive a letter from a caseworker asking for documentation concerning a $5,000 transfer made about 6 months ago. Even if the transfer was not a gift but a reimbursement, are you really going to remember what happened to the money and more importantly, have the required documentation to back it up?
The simple answer would be to contact the bank to receive the necessary documentation. However, the letter from the caseworker would most likely come with a ten day deadline or your mom’s application will be dismissed. It is unlikely that you will be able to receive the necessary paperwork from the bank in time.
The more unexplained transfers and gifts on your mom’s application, the longer the penalty period will be. The nursing home will then expect you to pay the $10,000 or even $20,000 bill.
The importance of seeking professional help before filing your Medicaid application cannot be stressed enough. An elder lawyer will be able to spot unexplained transfers before filing the application so that you have time to get the correct documentation from the bank or so that you can plan ahead for the penalty period. Only an experienced elder law attorney can properly guide you through the application process.