5 Year look back in Minnesota. Any advice?

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My best friends 91 year old mother moved in with her 3 years ago. At that time her mother gave her 30,000$ to care for her and provide for all living expenses until her death. Most of the money is gone due to expenses associated with caring for her mother. Unfortunately mother fell, broke a hip and is unable to return home due to stairs and a bathroom that is not capable of handicap accessibility. Mother is now residing in an expensive assisted living facility and my friend is having to supplement mother's rent with her own social security since the 30K is looked at as a gift per Medicaid and medical assistance. Does she have any recourse? My friend is 66 years old and is forced to work fulltime just to make ends meet. Just when she thought things would get easier financially they have never been worse.She is consulting with an elder care attornery in a couple of weeks but is really upset and is struggling to make ends meet.

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lindek, I'd love to hear how the legal consultation went. We learn from each other.
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Thanks for the advice. My friend keeps really good records and will be able to submit receipts for most everything spent on her mother's living expenses. Will wait and see how the attorney consultation goes and if an appeal is realistic.
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I agree with consulting a lawyer. If some of that money went for mom's care, and there is proof, then appeal the Medicaid decision to see if there is at least a reduction in the penalty period. I would also throw in any money already spent on the assisted living facility that she is in. The attorney should be able to help your friend assemble something for an appeal. Basically, 30,000 in receipts will have to be compiled..and they will also have to show that they were used for the mother's care, since the time of the gift.
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If this money was for Mom's care and it was used for that purpose, it is a real shame that mother and daughter did not see an Elder Law attorney about setting it up so that it would clear if the need for applying to Medicaid ever arose. As it is, seeing such a lawyer is still the best course of action.
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Your friend has to prove where the money went. If it went to mom's doctors' bills, fine, but if your best friend paid her own expenses, then it is a gift. And Medicaid will not pick up the tab until it is all paid back. Parents who give away money to heirs and think Medicaid will take care of them are sadly mistaken.
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