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When to apply
04-17-2013, 10:01 AM,
#1
When to apply
My mother is currently in a rehab facility as she fell and broke her hip. Her recovery is not going well, and she is scheduled to be discharged at the beginning of May. The care she will need I can do somewhat, but even though I work from home will not be the best thing for her long term.

The issue is that prior to this, she lived with me and my husband, and while we didn't formally set anything in place she wanted to contribute to the household. So most months she would give us a couple of hundred dollars to help pay bills (lights, water etc.).
She is a retired teacher and nets around $1,650+ a month. She has a checking and savings account, but all funds there come from her monthly pension.

My questions are:
1. Is the money she gives for household bills considered gifts?
2. If they are, how can I report them?
3. As her pension comes in at the beginning of the month, would applying toward the end of the month be better as that is when she has the lowest amount in her checking account?
4. Her savings are minimal, but based on what I've read so far would possibly make her ineligible. What options do you suggest?

Thanks for a great resource on this much needed subject.
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04-24-2013, 11:13 AM,
#2
RE: When to apply
Any money she contributed that was actually used to pay household bills of the house in which she was living at the time are not gifts to you, since they are transfers for consideration (i.e., she got something in return for the money).

Medicaid will examine her bank accounts going back at least 6 months, in some states up to 5 years back! If they question the transfers, you will have to explain that the payments were for household bills as you stated above. Then they should be ignored by the state.

If she has more than $2,000 in the bank at the time she applies, then the Medicaid caseworker will deny your mother from Medicaid eligibility until that sum is down below $2,000. That can require you to re-apply when that situation is met.

You should pre-pay your mother's funeral and burial, possibly purchase a car in her name that you can use to drive her around, buy a big-screen TV for her use, etc. I discuss a number of other options in my book, about how to sensibly "spend down" assets so as to qualify for Medicaid.
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