My mother is in an assisted living facility in Illinois. Currently she is private pay. She has many friends there who have gone on Medicaid

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in addition to Medicare. The facility never kicks out the Medicaid people unless they are out of the building due to hospitalization or other reasons for too long as Medicaid will not pay for an empty room.
My mother gets very upset when she hears her friends who are on Medicaid are now getting everything for free including transportation back and forth to doctors, physical therapy, tests, etc. She knows that these people have money hidden somewhere. She just found out that her building is increasing her rent another $390 a month in Sept. She feels she can no longer afford it and feels the money she pays for private pay is too much because the food there leaves much to be desired. She expects better food for the cost. She is wondering what she is doing wrong. She has been spending down her money legally but feels cheated when she sees others who have money are on Medicaid to pay everything.
She only has about $160,000 left in assets. She is a bit paranoid about gifting her money to family and she has mentioned about going to the casino and cashing checks there and then putting the money away so it can't be traced. I just don't know what to do anymore. She is very difficult to deal with, but I do understand her frustration also with the people who shouldn't be on Medicaid but are!
How do we help her to get on Medicaid at this point?

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Going to the casino sounds like one of the worst ideas I've encountered in a long time. Where is she getting that advice? Sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. And sounds like your Mom's judgement may be starting to slip (no offense, but common). But not being able to trace where she hides her money? Perhaps it's possible, but not very probable. Fear is a big factor, as well as losing control of one's money. Maybe her "paranoia" is a good thing, because in order to go on Medicaid, she will not be able to "gift" money to anyone, (called sheltering assets) as there is currently a 5 year look back period in our State. And rightfully so. Does she have a funeral contract (sorry, don't mean to sound morbid) in place, for her future. That is one legal way of preparing for the inevitable future. With that many assets, she probably won't qualify for Medicaid, and definitely not if she starts "giving" money away.

You may want to talk to a good Elder Law Attorney. Get reliable references. Sometimes a Trust can shelter assets, but make sure you find someone you ethically trustworthy when seeking advice. You can also get some guidelines from Medicaid. They have brochures and explicit guidelines, and a 1-800 number to call and ask questions for your particular State.

My Dad qualified for Medicaid, and I did this all without an attorney, but I did consult many before plunging in. It's a difficult process (as far as the red tape and paperwork is concerned). If they tell you that you can't do it without an attorney, don't believe them. I'm just Chicken Little, and all worked out decent. I had one tell me that people just get "tired," and hire an attorney to do the work for them. Note: you still have to locate all the assets, and etc. So there's still work involved. And if your Mom is still in control of her finances, she may or may not want to trust someone else, including you. Or do you have POA?

Sorry your Mom feels cheated. But if she has money to pay for her own care, and is doing so, while watching others somehow seemingly "beat the system," at least she still has her integrity. That's worth something money can't buy. My Dad qualified because his assets went toward paying down an incredible amount of debt. And his wife's income pays for her care and housing, but doesn't quite cover everything, so there's still debt. The assets they thought they had put away didn't do what they hoped, because they unwisely accrued too much debt.

You sound like a wonderful daughter. Nice profile picture. Good luck to you in your journey, as you seek help for your Mother.
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