How much is a family member allowed to charge an elderly parent for care and what about the finances if the parent has money in the bank.

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My 86 y/o mother moved in with my husband and I two years ago. We gave her a bedroom and made a living area on an entire floor for her things and made her bathroom senior friendly. She has mild Alzheimers and can't live alone. We enrolled her in an elder care plus center during the day for activities, socialization and meals under supervision so we can go to work. Other than that respite time, we always have her and we take her to the doctors, prepare meals, take her shopping, beauty salon, vacations etc. We drew up a care giver agreement agreement where she gifts us the maximum amount allowed by federal tax regulations so it doesn't cause any tax penalties in exchange for living with us etc. She has no financial hardship and can easily gift that amount. She could easily pay to live in a nice assisted living facility, but refuses to go. My siblings don't call or visit as they are mad that she moved in with me. However, with decreasing memory, she feels safe around us and I am a nurse. Currently she gifts us $13,000 per person per year. Anybody have any thoughts?
Although I do not charge my Mom for choosing to be her full-time caregiver, sounds like you have a well-thought-out financial arrangement and your Mom is blessed to have a nurse for a daughter who is also willing to keep a watchful eye over her. Bottom line is that even without knowing the details of your situation, I know first-hand that caregiving has many hidden costs in addition to actual expenses. Good for you for having a level business head on your shoulders in figuring it all out. God bless you and your Mom!
I agree that you have a thought out plan that is very reasonable and workable. My one question is whether the money that is gifted to you would be subject to what I've heard referred to as the "look back period" should a nursing home stay become necessary for your mother? In other words, would you need to pay that money back before any funds would be payable through Medicare for nursing hom e care if it becomes necessary?
Money that is gifted during the 5 year look back period does have to be paid back before medicaid would pay. It is different in situation where there is a contract between the parent and child paying them so much per month for their care. I think $13,000 is above the maximum for gifting in 2009 and the excess was taxable. Parents need to be careful that they don't gift above the maximum gifting level person. It is not a wise move either since one does not know when the application for medicaid will be needed and that five year look back period begins.
I am wondering what Medicaid would do in Allwoods case. Sounds like there is a care agreement in place. But if the payment is labeled as a gift in the agreement, then what? Gifts are subject to penalty under Medicaid. Maybe the parent is very well off and Medicaid woyld never be a concern? I have thought about this in my case, but if Mom lives another eight years the look back coyld become a problem and subject to payback.
To answer Jered's question...
Payment to a family member is permitted in SOME states. In my case payment up to the amount an agency would charge is permitted, at the low end that is $18.00 an hour. But the care must be medically necessary as determined by a doctor. See an elder law attorney to talk about your state requirements to be compliant with Medicaid regulations. Anything paid without a care agreement in place is considered a gift and subject to penalty.

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