RRccRR8 Asked May 2012

When your parent lives in your home is it OK to pay for things, like help with utilities, groceries?

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I would like to know if you all think it is wrong or right to have the parents that you are taking care of to help with these items? How will the state look at what you are doing with their money? Is paying an individual for caregiving instead of an agency acceptable? I have a great person I really want to keep. I am confused on the way the state looks at things. I just want to do the right thing . Should I write the check to the electric company out of her account if I can ? Is it acceptable even though the electric is in my name? I was thinking of 1/3 of the actual monthly bill. Thanks to you all who are helping all of us ! Have A Great Day to you ALL!

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igloo572 May 2012
A lot of this depends on everybody'scaregiving perspective & financial situation. Some folks would be horrified at just the thought of "billing" mom for anything, while others approach it differently. You have to do what works for you and your parent and all are in agreement with. Often the parent is always offering to "help out" and you have to be careful with $ when it gets co-mingled.

If you think that Medicaid will be needed in the future for your parent, then you kinda need to plan accordingly. Medicaid is pretty specific an income and assets and how it is reviewed. The lookback period is up to 5 years and you don't want to have to deal with an appeal of a transfer penalty if you can help it.

I'd go an see an elder care attorney and get all her paperwork - POA's, will, etc -updated and while you both are there also speak with them about doing a "personal care or personal services contract" for you that will pass the Medicaid sniff test for your state. Mom needs to pay for the attorney though her assets. You want it so that it is flexible for utilities and you can base it on the guidelines the IRS does for how to calculate utilities for home office filing. So get out the measuring tape and find the sq footage of her "space".

She can pay directly for a caregiver. The problem with an individual is that so often they do not want to provide you with an invoice or receipts that you will need (just in case you get a Medicaid transfer penalty ? on those checks) as they are NOT reporting the $ as taxable income. But the agencies do and can provide for the documentation you might need later on as they are registered with the state. In theory if you are paying anyone more than $ 599.00 a year, you should issue them a IRS 1099.
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