Can You Gift Your Wealth To A Family Member To Qualify For Medicaid?
Medicaid is a program that is funded by the federal government but administered by the state of Connecticut through the Department of Social Services to help low-income and low-asset individuals get assistance with various healthcare needs. Seniors can be eligible for Connecticut Medicaid benefits but they have to meet certain requirements. Specifically, there are both asset and income limits that an applicant must fall at or under to be considered eligible for Medicaid coverage. As a result, for seniors who need long-term care such as residence in a nursing home, figuring out ways to strategically reduce their financial assets to meet those limits and then gain eligibility is a common consideration.
Medicaid has specific rules. What you do to become eligible for Medicaid assistance could violate these rules, even if you did not know what you were doing was wrong. In these situations, it is best to speak with a legal professional licensed and knowledgeable about elder law, estate planning techniques, and Medicaid planning strategies. At The Law Office of Brian S. Karpe, LLC, the Canton elder law attorney can help you with your Medicaid estate planning needs.
How Gifting Money Can Violate Medicaid Rules
A common misconception is that if you have wealth that is above Medicaid’s limits then you can just “gift” that wealth to a loved one, and then, just like, that you qualify. This is not so. Medicaid knows that this practice is a natural response to their benefit limits and that is why there is what is known as a “look-back” period. Most gifts made during this period may be considered invalid and the value
of the asset will be considered in your Medicaid application. This look-back rule is a length of time where all transfers of assets before applying for Medicaid will be assessed. Currently, in Connecticut, this period is five years before the date of the application, but this period is subject to change. As a result, this is one of the many reasons why estate planning for Medicaid should be done as early as possible. If the Department of Social Services reviews your application and sees such transfers during that look-back timeframe, your claim will likely be
denied or a penalty period where you are ineligible for benefits will be imposed. Therefore, unwise and untimely gifting of assets could hurt your Medicaid eligibility and not help it.
It is understandable why individuals considering the need for long-term care think of all of the ways that they can tackle this substantial expense. Planning for Medicaid is one thing that may be done but doing so without violating the rules is necessary.
Speak to a Canton Elder Law Attorney Today
If you need Medicaid in Connecticut to help you with your future residential and medical needs, then the way you put your estate plan together will be different than if you were not considering the potential of needing the coverage. For more information about long-term care planning in Connecticut, you can call the Canton long-term care planning lawyer at The Law Office of Brian S. Karpe, LLC to schedule a free consultation at 860-217-1458.