5 year Medicaid lookback period for nursing home admission for my husband who has Alzheimer’s. Any insight?

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I have been researching and asking advice about Nursing home Medicaid lookback. I know as the spouse my finances will also be scrutinized. My husband only has his Social Security monthly in his name. I know I cannot write any large checks bc they will be considered gifts if given to a child or grandchild. Not sure what amounts are considered too much. I am also not sure if my occasional ATM withdrawals ( need the cash to pay for certain things) and my Visa charges will also be scrutized. Has anyone had this happen? I heard they could use a forensic accountant to look into most transactions made during the 5 years. I have a friend whose elder attorney told her they will penalize you for any checks over $1000. Someone else told me too many ATM withdrawals could cause penalties. We are not at the point yet for nursing home admissions but my husband’s anxiety, frustrations and often anger are really wiping me out.
Any insights would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

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I live in NY State and my mother has been in a memory care unit since September 2017. She is self pay. I went to an elder care attorney who told me that my mom would be penalized for any gifts, no matter what the amount. I can understand your frustration. It's pretty sad when people work all of their lives, to be treated this way by the government.
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Speech, please see a CERTIFIED NAELA eldercare attorney and talk in detail about applying for Medicaid. From what I've read, Needtowashair is correct, at least in my state. Spouse can keep 117,000 dollars at least. This is very much a state program and differs widely.
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WAIT!!!! Before you do a big spend down like some have suggested, see a elderlaw/medicaid attorney. You may not need to do a big spend down. The cash limit for a couple can be hundreds of thousands of dollars, not $2000. It's about $100,000 by default so that the spouse not receiving medicaid has money to live on. You can petition the court to increase that limit if you can justify it because of a high cost of living in your area. An attorney I spoke to says he petitions for a $300,000 exemption in our area.

So please see an attorney before doing anything drastic. Many of the limits people are quoting are for single people. Medicaid involving only one person in a married couple is a different thing altogether. It also effects recovery. If there is a surviving spouse then there is no medicaid recovery. It used to be only while the surviving spouse was still alive but I think last year they changed it to be no recovery ever.
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Medicaid is administered by the state in which the applicant lives so the regulations may differ slightly.
The couples whole income is considered not just the applicant.
As long as you keep records for any substantial amounts you should be fine - although poor You may have to make major lifestyle changes with a spouse on medicaid so be prepared for that.
You will be able to keep your house, one car and personal effects and I think about $2000 in cash. In your position i would make any major repairs needed to the house, buy a new car if needed, things like that which you may not be able to afford going forward.
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Believe me, here in NJ they don't use acct. Moms caseworker asked for 5 yrs of statements. Out of those five years he took four a year that he personnally looked over. They are looking for big discrepancies. ATM is the way most people bank now that Payroll and SS checks are direct deposit. So I don't see why they would question money used for daily leaving. I would not give grands any large amounts.
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Thanks Jeanne and Barb
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BarbBrooklyn is correct. Talking to friends and asking us can give you a helpful background, but applying for Medicaid when there is a community spouse (you) is very complicated and you really need to consult a lawyer who specializes in Elder Law.

Penalty for checks over $1,000? Not at all when they are paying for a new furnace or repairing your car. Checks written as gifts to each of your grandchildren? That could result in penalties.

You are very wise to be looking into this before your husband needs a care center. Do a thorough job and see a lawyer!
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Haven’t spoken to him in a while. He advised me a couple of years ago to give cash - if I felt I needed to help my child or grandchild or for special occasions. The problem is I need to use the ATM or cash a check in order to do this, to have the cash. I just hope too many transactions wouldn’t be counted against me.
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Have you talked to an Eldercare attorney to get advice about this issue?
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