Should I give my children my money now in order to qualify for Medicaid for skilled nursing care in the future?
Many people come to my office and ask this question. The answer to that question is an emphatic no. You should absolutely not give your children your money in order to qualify for Medicaid for skilled nursing care, and here’s the reason why. Medicaid has a five year look-back period. Well what is included in that five year look-back period? One of the things that Medicaid examines in reviewing your bank statements, which are required as a part of the application process is has the applicant made any improper transfers and/or gifts in the preceding five years. If you give your children your money, that is going to be considered an improper gift and/or transfer, which will affect your eligibility for Medicaid for skilled nursing care.
Let me give you a little bit of an example. Let’s say that Mom wants to gift $56,000 to her son, and we’ll use the son as John. Well John takes the $56,000 and let’s just say that John takes this a year before Mom actually needs to apply for Medicaid for skilled nursing care. In that situation, Mom is looking at a penalty period of seven months of ineligibility to be qualified for Medicaid for skilled nursing care. Well how do we get that number? Well, Medicaid uses a divisor of approximately $8,000 in order to calculate this ineligibility period. So when you take the $56,000 gift, divided by the $8,000, you get seven months of ineligibility. So that’s one of the main reasons that you don’t want to gift away your assets to your children or siblings or family members in order to qualify for Medicaid for skilled nursing care. There are many avenues in order to qualify for skilled care through Medicaid in which you do not have to deplete all of your resources by providing the money to the nursing home, and there are viable what’s called “spend down” methods.
If you have questions about these spend down methods, or are interested in creating a Medicaid plan that is best for you and/or your family member, please give me a call here at Waller and Mitchell, as I’m sure I can assist you with your needs. Call me at 727-847-2288.