My 81 year old father came to live with me and my family early this year. My mother died three years ago and she was the one that did all of the finances. Once she got sick and eventually died my father started spending money like water. He does not have a debit card or anything so he would remove thousands at a time to pay bills in person, groceries, constantly go out to eat, etc. I believe he also liked flashing cash to all the women he was trying to date at the local senior center.

Now he’s living with me because he ran out of money to live on his own at least in a large home and all of the expenses that entails. He currently gets his social security and has maybe $1,000 left in the bank and one CD for $10,000. Last month he fell at my house and broke his patella. Two surgeries (he refused to sit still at rehab and fell and needed another surgery to fix it again) later and I’m applying him for Medicaid to help pay for the rehab. He has been at rehab since he fell, he has Blue cross for insurance but a huge daily copay for the rehab facility which will totally stop paying after 100 days.

I applied for the community based Medicaid but I’m concerned he may never be able to move back to my house. He was extremely unstable standing and walking even with a walker and this hasn’t improved since the injury. Even with 24/7 staff they can’t get to him fast enough to take him to the bathroom without him trying to get up on his own and usually falling in the process. Did I mention he has extreme anxiety that so far medication hasn’t made a dent in? He has always been extremely hyper, paranoid and anxious my whole life.

I think the best place for him to live long term would be in an assisted living situation, if he would even go for that. I don’t think I would be able to provide him enough supervision for him to be safe. Example: The day before his second surgery I brought him to my house so he could visit with his cat that I have adopted for him. I went to make him a snack and in the span of maybe four minutes he got up and fell and crashed into a TV tray smashing it to pieces and landing on the floor. I should also mention he is on blood thinners so falling for him is extremely serious. He is also painfully thin (has been all his life). He eats like a horse so I have no idea what’s going on with that.

However with his reckless spending habits over the years I have zero chance of figuring out where a lot of the money he has taken out of the bank has gone. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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I think this might be a good place to start:

They say:

"The Office for the Aging and Continuing Care provides services to the elderly and disabled of Oneida County and their families. We assess individuals to identify unmet physical, medical, psychological, social and financial needs. Care plans are then created and implemented cooperatively between our department (case manager) and the individual and their family. Appropriate and available services are provided and referrals are made to other agencies when necessary to accommodate each individual's specific needs. After the care plan is in place; we monitor, evaluate and adjust the plan to accommodate the ever changing needs of the client."

Their contact numbers and walk-in office information is on that page.

It's especially the bit about identifying unmet needs. Your father's reckless spending, in the context of your description of him, suggests to me that there could be all kinds of mental health issues in the mix which have impacted on his financial situation. It's all going to be relevant to the Medicaid issue; and I would hope that the Area Agency will be able to guide you about how to move forward.

Don't forget that the first person who is responsible for managing your father's life is your father. Once he can't, or looking back if he could not, that STILL doesn't make you responsible, certainly not if you had no authority to take over decision-making. So while this is a mess - a) it will be sort-outable; and b) try to avoid that feeling that it's your fault and it's up to you to solve everything.
Helpful Answer (11)

The first thing you need to do is meet with the Social Worker and case manager at the Rehab Center and address your concerns about him being able to live with you anymore. They need to know you cannot safely care for him at home. When the time comes do not let them release him to you. As far as the bank records, those are easy to get. Unless there are large transfers, there shouldn't be much to worry about. Did he sell or transfer property? If it is shown that he gifted large amounts, those that he gifted to may be on the hook to pay it back ultimately, but your first concern is Dad's proper placement. Do not let them release him to you when the time comes, you will not be able to safely take care of him.
Helpful Answer (9)

I don't know about the Medicaid requirements, but it's good advice to call an Elder Care Attorney for guidance.

I doubt an Assisted Living Facility would take your dad, being he's constantly falling. With a caregiver to resident ratio of approx 20:1, there is no way he'd be properly cared for in an ALF. Not to mention the liability factor for them, or the fact that Medicaid doesn't usually cover ALFs, just Skilled Nursing/Long Term Care Facilities. And when in such an environment, they'd be ill equipped to prevent falls. My mother fell about 36 times in Assisted Living and had to move into Memory Care after she became wheelchair bound and her dementia progressed. The ALF wouldnt take her back after a stint in rehab. The wheelchair has been a blessing....shes only fallen 2x that we know of since June. They've wired her bed and easy chair with alarms which notify staff if she tries to get up alone. Of course, they couldn't possibly get there in time if she were to get up alone....but that's the way it goes. If she starts falling a lot again, as she did in Assisted Living, I'm sure I'll get The Call about having to move her to Skilled Nursing. Falling is REAL dilemma, especially when they're stubborn and insist they can do things on their own, when obviously they cannot. Sigh. Then throw in dementia and the whole mess is literally impossible to manage. When mother had a CT scan in the hospital recently, they saw broken ribs and sternum bones, all in various stages of healing. Coming from falls she managed to hide from staff by getting up on her own without help.

Anyway, just some food for thought for you to consider. Wishing you the best of luck with this difficult situation
Helpful Answer (8)

I’m with the others that if it’s a regular pattern of cash withdrawals since mom died, that Medicaid will be ok with it. They are gonna want at least 3 years of financials, maybe 5 years. So pull that stack of paperwork together. If everything falls apart after her death, the pattern will be obvious.

BUT I’m more concerned about other things....
- is he likely to be discharged to be ok to live in AL or in the community? He doesn’t at all. sound like he could manage AL as he’s not ambulatory or able to actually do most ADL daily care things, like transition from bed to get dressed or toilet on his own. He sounds like he’s LTC NH needing skilled nursing care & 24/7 oversight. I’d suggest you Ask NH to do a needs assessment on him early next week. That might help you determine where he goes AND which Medicaid needs to be applied to & spent down to qualify for.
- he’s actually currently a rehab patient in a NH, right? I bet Medicaid is going to want to place him in LTC NH Medicaid program application pile rather than Community based Medicaid Program. Community Medicaid is good for those living at home that need a secondary insurance to their Medicare. He has BCBS, he has secondary. He’s right now not living at home. He’s in a grey zone for residence, he’s not living in his home anymore, had temporarily moved in with you & now in a NH & after more than 1 hospitalization on rehab. If Medicaid does this (NH LTC) that 10k CD will have him ineligible from the start for LTC NH Medicaid as it’s 2k max for assets for almost all states.
I’d suggest you asap speak with the Medicaid caseworker for his application as to which path his filing went. If this was done at the NH, caseworker is geared to all being LTC NH Medicaid type of vetting.
- BCBS & health insurance, Why isn’t his stay in rehab being paid by MediCARE post hospitalization rehab benefit with BCBS as his secondary insurer? & BCBS covering the copay? 20% copay is pretty standard to get paid by the blues. MediCARE is doing the bigger payout. Realize if he has Medicare as his primary & BCBS as his secondary or supplemental, if he should actually get onto any Medicaid, that BCBS will drop or suspend his coverage. BCBS won’t cover if they can shift costs to another secondary insurance, & that’s what Medicaid will become for him. BCBS will return his premiums paid to date Medicaid in effect. For more fun in this, if he gets onto Medicaid and they date eligibility back a few weeks, BCBS likely will do a clawback for all payments to vendors that they paid for him from that date on. The vendors will have to rebill to medicaid & if they don’t participate in Medicaid, they will come after dad or you as dpoa to get paid. This could be quite a bit of $ & flurry of bills for months as clawback can take time to happen & be realized. I went thru this for my mom as she had federal civil service retirement with BCBS coverage & she went onto LTC NH Medicaid; Blues clawed back 5 months of payments..... nothing but fun there.
- Also If he should move back to your house & his current docs do not take Medicaid, it’s likey going to be quite a hurdle to find him new docs. I’d call his 3 main MDs ASAP to see if they participate in Medicaid AND are taking any new patients in their Medicaid set aside #.
And lastly...
- does he still own his home?
You mention he had a large home but moved in with you. So is home still there in his name? If so, how are property costs getting paid? Is it empty / vacant or was there someone living there with him?

Alot of determining what’s better to do maybe be best based on his needs assessment. It can be a reality check with documentation for all.
Helpful Answer (7)

Get an elder attorney. Depending on the amount of money spent he may or may not be able to get Medicaid. My aunt in WV took out $750.00 a month to spend. Medicaid questioned the amount spent and she had some kind of penalty and did not get Medicaid immediately. He definitely would have to legitimately spent down most of that $10,000 CD
Helpful Answer (6)

If your Dad had made the checks out to you or another family member, that would have been considered “gifting” in our state for Medicaid purposes which disqualified the patient until the money is paid back. DHHS does and will audit the bank account just looking for large amounts paid to their kids maybe. They audited my Mom’s. She had to pay a portion of her social security check to the nursing home but Medicaid paid the rest. When the parent is deceased here, Medicaid does Estate Recovery whereby they will try to recover any money or property such as land or a house,etc to reach their claim. I went through all of this. My parents’ house was deeded to my sister and me in a life estate 6 years before she entered the nursing home so it was not an asset they could claim. BUT, you go straight to an elder law attorney and gather the info. I made 3 trips to one and they usually charge about $300.00 or so for an hour of valuable advice. Worth every penny. If you Google Medicaid info, be sure to put your state in as keyword because each state has its own Medicare laws/rules that vary. Hope this helps. Good luck to you.
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Is dad competent to respond to questions? You are going to have to provide five years of his financial records. I have no idea, since he has withdrawn huge amounts of cash, what they will do with that. My only suggestion is get a elder law attorney to help with the process. Tell that attorney the absolute truth.

How did this get so out of control?

New York has so many programs, I have no idea what is available.
Helpful Answer (4)

As long as your dad spent his money on things he wanted, there should not be an issue. I recommend that you get five years worth of bank statements from his bank. Medicaid will first look to see if he sold anything of large value in the past five years, i.e. home, car, etc. and if so, where did that money go? The issue with only using cash is there is no paper trail to show that he spent his money on meals, gas, clothes, etc.
As for the $10,000 he has remaining, please get receipts for all things that the money is spent on. I would recommend applying for Medicaid, gather all the verification paperwork and see what they determine prior to spending down the $10,000. Medicaid will be able to determine if he will qualify once $6000 is spent. If he does not have funeral costs, burial, etc. paid for, I would recommend using the last of his money for this expense. Medicaid approves and recommends doing so with the last of funds.
Helpful Answer (4)

Yes, that 10k will have to be used for his care before Medicaid will pay.

They question $750 a month? We spend more than that just for spending money. We eat out a lot and pay cash for somethings. If she had a car thats gas, groceries and just spending money alone. I don't see why that would be questioned, especially if it was a regular with drawl. Makes since to me.

I guess I was lucky. Our bank includes copies of checks so Medicaid saw Moms withdrawls. Her pension was a check and that she cashed and that was her spending money.
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anonymous972110 Jan 2020
She was very low income and widowed. They questioned because the $750 was considered to be too high for ordinary expenses for a single person. She was on food stamps, a state supported drug assistance program. She did not have a car. It was determined during a personal interview that she was giving most of the cash to her daughter who refused to work. It took several months to get her in LTC because of her poor money management and cash handling. Two of her siblings paid for one or two months of her nursing home care.
All good answers...only thing I would add is to be careful signing ANYthing at rehab/nursing homes, do not spend any of your own funds for his needs, especially since the 10K will have to diminish for him to qualify for medicaid; don't forget to spend down to consider funeral plans and if you get an elder law attorney to help, try to do some research and get one of the best, certified...if you can one who works for a flat fee for a task. They will guide you through the process and relieve the burden and make sure other legal stuff is covered like will, POA etc.
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