bobmorgan Asked June 2011

If I am on a joint checking account with my mother, how does the money in her checking account affect her eligibility for Medicaid?

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EXPERT K. Gabriel Heiser Jun 2011
I AM an elder law attorney and the answer is this: If a person applies for Medicaid has a joint account, ALL the money is deemed owned by that person unless the other joint owner of the account can prove they contributed funds to the account (by showing how their share of the funds in the account got there, tracing the funds from some other bank, etc.). If indeed all the money in the account actually belongs to the Medicaid applicant (your mother, in this case), then that's not an issue. But what could be an issue is how the account is titled: If it is an "or" account (that is, either joint owner can withdraw money or write a check on the account) then creation of the account (adding your name to your mother's account) is not an issue when your mother applies for Medicaid. However, if it is an "and" account (that is, checks or withdrawals require BOTH signatures--yours and your mother's), then creation of the account from an account that had been solely in the name of your mother IS A GIFT as far as Medicaid is concerned. Their reasoning is that if your mother previously had full control over her account, but now must get your permission, then this loss of control to you is deemed a gift. As a result, it could mean a penalty period if she applies for Medicaid within 5 years of creation of the joint account.
So, in summary: if all the money is your mother's, and either person on the account can separately withdraw that money, then there is no problem with the joint account.
For more info on this and other Medicaid planning rules and techniques, see my book "How to Protect Your Family's Assets from Devastating Nursing Home Costs: Medicaid Secrets", . Good luck!!
--K. Gabriel Heiser
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195Austin Jun 2011
I am not sure I think 1/2 is hers but you really need to talk to an elder lawyer in your area and you will probably need his or her help filling out the medicare application-it is not easy to do and he or she will ask for a retainer but you most likey will be able to use her money to pay the retainer that should be the first thing you do and if she is alert take her with you-my lawyer asked for 3 hrs. of his time so I am sure he would be able to do all the paperwork in a lot less time -they want to make a good profit- let the lawyer do the leg work they are experience and you can provide the info you can obtain easily-let us know how things go since others will get needed information on how the process works-we can all help others.
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Alena Jun 2011
I agree with Austin. You definitely need to get an elder law attorney. Some will give you a consultation for free. I would have never been able to get my mom medicaid assistance if it were not for their assistance. It was a heafy bill but it was well worth it and we made the money back 100 times over due to the assistance we got. There is different programs in each state that she could be eligible for. They will also have to ensure she does not make over a certain amount of money a month and if she does they will walk you through setting up a state trust fund. There is all kinds of things they will walk you through. Working full time and managing my own family, i did not have time to educate myself on the programs, loop holes and ever changing laws etc... I did go into shock when I paid his bill but he let us do it in pieces and i had to keep in mind the long term picture and it has way paid off. Good luck!
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dm2jj Jun 2011
Just go to the Medicaid website of your state and their is a FAQ or knowledge base that you can read and get information regarding the rules that apply about assets of the applicant in this case your mom and how it affects in applying for Medicaid.
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cmagnum Jun 2011
I put a link to a site about this question, but someone removed it.
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N1K2R3 Jun 2011
Ask Gabriel Heiser. There IS a formula.
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