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My mother is going into a nursing home as she has become completely dependent. Can I pay off my parent's current medical and credit card bills before filling out her application in Wisconsin. I asked the question about debt to the social worker, and the response was, "they don't care about what is owed; they only care about what they have."

I take this as a "yes." They have made no transfer of assets for the past 60 months.

The bills I am speaking about are medical bills, house taxes, and credit card debt.

Thank you.

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My mom gets SS and a pension. She pays a percentage to the NH based on that, and Medicaid pays the rest. She keeps less than $2,000 in her account at least one day a month. We also have to spend a minimum of $60 a month on her necessary needs, wants or likes. She (we) pre-paid funeral costs, and she paid for a car (in her name) to complete the spend down. Not as tough as I was afraid it might be! Keep in mind, that if you don't pay off her debts now, there won't be enough money to do so, once she's on Medicaid. Best of luck to you.
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Just out of curiosity, why do you want to pay off the debt? How much debt and in what kind of categories? Is there still a mortgage or a HELOC on the house?

It sounds like your parents still have a home and it's just mom that is going into the NH and applying for Medicaid. Is that the situation? So dad is going to stay at the house and therefore he is considered a "community spouse" for Medicaid.
Is this the situation?
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Medicaid acceptance is based upon your mother's assets. In that sense it actually makes sense to pay down the debts to reduce your mother's assets levels so she can qualify for Medicaid.
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Sorry to hear about your Mother. My understanding is that to apply for Medicaid, they have to have less than around $2,000.00 in the bank account, no savings, no retirement, no pension, no other form of income etc etc. They can have debt, a house and a car. If your mother does have extra funds, she can choose to spend down by purchasing a Pre-Funeral plan as that is an acceptible purchase in the eyes of Medicaid. All other fund / property transfers will be tracked and perhaps chased down later for Medicaid reimbursement. Hope this helps you.
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