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my mother in law will be running out of money soon and we will need to apply to medicaid. I am stressed about every cent that we spend because of the look back! She wants to give her grandkids and her 2 sons $50 each for Christmas...can we still do this? We have not filed yet. I know she is going to be upset if I tell her no..she is still in her right mind and she asked if I could get the cards and bring the checkbook..what should I do?

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Sorry meant to say my money.
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I would agree with buying gifts from the dollar store and use her money. I would not want to do anything that would compromise Medicaid.
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Thanks, rsrobbins, for telling us about the 5 year look back period aplying only to gifts made after Feb 2006. I was really worried about the $1,000 each gifts my mom gave in 2004 to four family members. What about a car that my mom gave to my nephew in 2006? He never got the title transferred so it is still in my mom's name. However, the car is not driveable and sits in the garage and needs a lot of repair. I warned my nephew to get the title transferred before mom went into the nursing home and went on medicaid, but I think he stalled because he lost the paperwork. I guess he will be the loser on this if we have to sell the car to pay her expenses.

What about the $100 she gave to each of four family members every Christmas from 2005-2008?

Of course now she has $0 to give anybody this Christmas, they only let her have $50 a month, which doesn't even cover all of her prescriptions after the insurance pays. I took her to the dollar store and she found a few things to give her daughters and grandchildren, just to satisfy her that she had done something, and it helped her mood just to get out of the nursing home for a few hours.
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The 5 year look back only applies to gifts made after February 7, 2006. Otherwise, the look back is 3 years for gifts to a real person and 5 years to a trust.

Small gifts such as Christmas gifts totaling under $100 to all recipients should not be a problem in contemplation of applying for Medicaid.
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Going to the dollar store is a great idea they really have some nice stuff or instead of gifts maybe the grandchildren can spend more time at the nursing home visiting their grandparents and some of the other residents would enjoy seeing kids also so many of them do not have anyone to visit them and if you have a cat or dog most NH allow pets to be brought in as long they are on a leash, A gift of time is often more important than something wrapped. Or the child could bake some cookies and take them in to Grandparents,
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When I was doing the medicaide application there was a question about withdrawing a certain amount of money and the reason for withdrawing it I can not remember the exact amount I think it was $2000.00 but can not be sure I would definately go to an elder lawyer I found a great one who was recomended by our account and he also gives his time of one day a week to our Office of the aging. You do not want to make any mistakes that will bite you later. It would make sense that a wedding gift would be ok but medicaide does bot operate on good sense they are so afraid of being cheated. You usually do not get denied medicaide but have to spend down your own money until they are satisfied that your money is gone then you get medicaide. KURTZ good luck but the first step is getting an elder lawyer-see if your Office of the Aging has someone devoting his or her time so you can start getting educated on all of this-it is a gruling process-since my husband died before I got real far in the process-I just remember crying a lot.
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So 195 Austin, the look back period is 5 years ago in NJ, however we have not yet filed for medicaid but it will happen soon in the next few months...someone had told me they are not concerned with small amounts of money..that is what I wasn't sure about. So what happens when she gave her grandaughter 3 1/2 years ago $2500 for a wedding gift. At that time she never expected to be in a nursing home...will they deny her medicaid. I guess we may need to see an elder lawyer.
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I just had the same argument with my mom. She has been in the nursing home three months now, and she wanted to give what was remaining in her checking account to her grandchildren. Usually on Christmas she has saved up extra money all year so she can give her grandchildren money. This year it all had to go to the nursing home except the $50 she has left in her account. At first she was really upset and brought up old arguments about being in the nursing home that we thought we had resolved. However, I compromised and said I would take her shopping and we would find some inexpensive gifts at the dollar store, she was agreeable and we did find some nice things to fill stockings, only spent $10 out of her money and some of mine. Sometimes you have to compromise a little to help them feel good, and it got her out of the nursing home for a while too, sometimes just a change of scenery for an hour or two helps.
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How about getting the advice of an Elder Law Attorney?
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You have to be very careful-the look-back period is 5 yrs. and you have to supply 3 yrs of bank statements in NY .
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If you can manage it, then of course you can! If it is an unreasonable amount and would be stressful till next payday, then suggest a smaller amount. Medicaid looks at how much you earn and what you own etc. They aren't going to deny her based on giving her grandkids a christmas present. Besides, who is to say she didn't sacrifice giving up her cable for the month to give the gift? Good Luck!!
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