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Will a Transfer Made By My Mother Before She Died Affect My Father's Medicaid Eligibility?

  • February 26th, 2016
Q
Four years ago, my mother and father each gave cash gifts to their children. Two years ago, my mother passed away, never entering a long-term care facility or applying for Medicaid. My father may need to apply for Medicaid in the near future. Will the gifts made by my mother play any factor in the five-year look back period for my father? Or is he only responsible for the gifts that he made? Maybe a different way to ask the question is: Are gifts from married spouses given as a couple or as individuals?
A

For Medicaid transfer purposes, the gifts of a spouse are treated exactly the same as gifts made by an applicant for benefits, so if your mother were still living, her gifts would affect your father’s eligibility. However, the death of the spouse could open up a gray area because it is, in effect, a gift by an ex-spouse or a former spouse.  It raises the question of what would happen if the spouses divorced and whether that should be treated any different from the death of a spouse. The answer to these questions will depend on individual state application of the rules. It's best that you consult with a local elder law attorney. To find an attorney near you, go here: http://www.elderlawanswers.com/elder-law-attorneys. Also, take a look at the actual Medicaid application and see how the question about transfers is phrased. Always answer truthfully, but don’t offer information they don’t request. Finally, given that the gifts occurred four years ago, could you wait another year before applying for benefits for your father? Then you would not have to report the transfers at all.

For more information on Medicaid transfers, click here.

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Last Modified: 02/26/2016
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