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If a person with Alzheimer's/ Dementia is trying to qualify for Medicaid and is currently in a nursing home, will they have an issue qualifying if there are sums of money that they were withdrawing from their checking account every month and no one knows what they did with this money? The person is a self pay at the nursing home until they spend all of their savings but will need to qualify for Medicaid next year to continue staying at the nursing home. I think they may have an issue if they can't document or remember what they did with money that they were withdrawing from their checking account every month.

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jeannegibbs Having worked in nursing homes for over 30 years, I have seen people on Medicaid that actually did gift funds to relatives, turned their businesses over to children and even got divorced to deplete their funds. However sure this was done "legally". Exactly how they managed it, I have no info on that. Most people n Medicaid are not cheating system, but there are those who do!
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Reply to drooney
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Lizs daughter 207:

I think the advice to hire and elder care attorney to help you navigate the system, is excellent advice.


Although the lawyer will charge a fee, you will likely end ups saving or recovering more funds in the long run.


Even if the elder person spent the money rather than gave it away, it still will effect medicaid qualification.



Talk to an attorney,
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Reply to Heather10
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Medicaid requires the 5 year lookback, which means that's the applicant will have to show 5 years of bank statements.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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It could be the the money that she is withdrawing is being hidden somewhere. Sometimes elderly revert back to days of the Depression when no one trusted banks anymore.
Another possibility is a unscrupulous relative is asking her for money. Sometimes a security camera at the bank can reveal if anyone is with her at the bank.
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Reply to anereus
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Elder law attorney and perhaps an investigator to figure out if someone has been helping themselves to the money. Until you figure out where the money is, suspect everyone who has even the most remote access to the accounts, caregivers, relatives, friends, anyone with a computer. . And, change all passwords, etc. so continued money transfers can't continue. And why does an AD person have access to the money?. I vote that there is a real person who's been raiding the accounts. Hope you can figure this out.
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Reply to maryqesq1
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Not all states regulate tobacco and alcohol. So if she was smoking and drinking it could account for a large portion of that money. Both my parents were 5 packs a day smokers.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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A neighbor hired help paying cash, paid his taxi driver cash, loaned the taxi driver money, went to the casinos with his wife (taxi), and paid a reputable driver to go to doctors visits and wait. With his pattern of spending, it was no doubt more than $2,000 per month.
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Reply to Sendhelp
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I agree with Igloo572 and Drooney:

If no formal report of elder care financial abuse was filed, medicaid will still consider it gifting.

To do otherwise, they need documented proof that the elder person was coerced to give the money away. If there is no such proof, it is considered a gift pure and simple.

If you do a search you will find numerous cases of home health aids and hospice aids taking advantage of the elder persons good will or dementia to get them to give them money.

Sometimes it is a relative who is taking the money.

In either case, it is considered a gift, unless the elder person is proved to lack capacity or agrees to file a complaint.

Too many times, if it is a child, the elder will not file a complaint, even though one is warranted.
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Reply to Heather10
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In that 5 year "look back" , its not so much what was done with the money, as much as you HAD that money. They really don't care if you gifted it, wasted it on silly stuff, or gave it to charity. If you show a considerable amount of funds then you must've had a good income. The more money you had, the less likely you can qualify for Medicaid . At some point, after all funds depleted, then you can qualify for Medicaid. It is a long process. Elder Law Attorney can provide guidance.
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Reply to drooney
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jeannegibbs Jul 6, 2018
Um, drooney, yes they do care what you did with the money you used to have. The underlying purpose is to prevent people from scamming the system by giving money to relatives in order to become eligible.
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Countrymouse - if “exploitation of vulnerable adult” is going to be used to get around Medicaid gifting/ transfers, then there will need to be documentation on it..... which means that a police report is filed and that APS is brought in. Police report leads to charges filed, arrest warrant put out, somebody’s getting arrested. APS does an investigation, which means employers & neighbors interviews, and APS can contact others like if their SS income is involved then SSA can go into representative payee required mode. Stuff like this snowballs.

The issue will be that elder won’t file or cooperate on filing charges. And neither will the Dpoa. So the $$ gets looked at as gifting by Medicaid.
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Reply to igloo572
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They would also want to know what was bought with the money. If it was just small things that were used for every day living, I would't think there would be a problem. If she had dementia she could have lost it for anyone knows. If she would have sold a house, very big deal and they would want to know where the money went.
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Reply to Isabelsdaughter
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Was money squirreled away in the house or clothes? A friend found $40,000 his mother had hidden in various places around the house - cereal boxes, clothes, purses, etc. My uncle has money stuck in his passport, drawers, notepads, various stacks of paper. Same with postage stamps - I'm still using all the stamps he had in the house.
They forget they have it, or are too lazy to look for it. Uncle would 'lose' his wallet for weeks. I usually found it within 15 minutes of arrival - typically in same drawer.

Was there any kind of caregiver? Could they have had access to funds? I found my uncles housecleaner was making regular withdrawals from ATM. I alerted the banks and police got her picture every time! except at the casino.
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Reply to kalkal
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Surely if a vulnerable elder was being exploited in this way, and was a victim of abuse, the lookback rules would take that into account and not penalise the applicant?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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The bank should have video cameras. This could either prove she was withdrawing the money herself or someone else was with her.

If someone else was with her, this could be considered elder financial fraud.

I had a neighbor who was giving money to her maid because she would give her a sob story about have a son who was addicted to drugs.

The neighbor used her own money to buy the maid a car and help with the son's rehab bills.

Something like this can seriously impact medicaid qualifications for at least five year as it would be seen as gifting.

A lot of elderly people do not realize this, even those that do not have dementia or Alsheimer's.

Even if this women was shown going to the bank with the maid, it may still be difficult to charge her with financial fraud, if the women is deemed of sound mind.
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Reply to Heather10
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If she was really truly spending it on alcohol & cigs, there’s going to be a obvious pattern of where it was spent. At $66 a day, that’s imo that’s venturing into functional  alcoholic and they need to have routine to manage their days, so there’s gonna be a pattern. Plus Both liquor & cigs are regulated. So there’s going to be a short list of shops, bodegas, liquor stores, whatever she could easily go to on a daily or multiple times a week basis to buy Scotch & Camels.

If she’s supposedly paying cash, she has to go to the bank or check cashing place to cash a check & there will be Records on her doing this that you can find. 

If she doesn’t have a car, there’s only so far someone will walk hauling hooch... liquor is heavy even if it’s plastic “handles”.
If she doesn’t have a car & is using a delivery service, there will be an agreement existing to have this happen. States require this as both liquor & cigs are regulated. 
If she has a car, even then she’s gonna have a store that’s her place. And someone will know her & can pull up some old receipts. So you get these so you can show a pattern of spending that makes enough sense to pass Medicaid’s concerns.

Also there’s going to be a lot of bottles, like a full recycle bin regularly. I’d ask her neighbors about her shopping habits. Someone going to know something. At 2k a mo, spent every few days, it’s a lot of hooch, a lot of bottles.

Or she was gifting $.
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Reply to igloo572
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I have to ask how or why does this person still have the ability to access their account? If that has not yet changed it should.

I can see how it might be easy to get that total on personal items. Cigarettes, alcohol, if incontinent supplies are her responsibility to purchase you would have the pull ups, ointments, wipes, under pads. That is a good chunk of money there. A few "fancy" coffees, a meal or two out a newspaper daily or even just a few times a week adds up. Paying for a phone.
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Reply to Grandma1954
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Buying alcohol and cigarettes is acceptable, as long as she bought them for herself. Supplying friends in the NH or in the neighborhood while she was home is considered gifting and would raise red flags. A pack-a-day habit costs about $240 a month. More if she smokes more, of course. Did she buy beer or expensive wine or liquor?

Did/does she gamble? Eat out a lot? Did her groceries come out of this cash?

Has there been a change in the cash withdrawals since she has been in the NH?

Contact your Area Agency on Aging, and explain the situation. Ask if they have resources who can answer your questions, or can refer you to law firms with specialists in Elder Law.

Paying for an Elder Law attorney to help with the application is a valid use of her money.
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Reply to jeannegibbs
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Have a consult with an elder care attorney. They do go by bank statements. My mom was fond of withdrawing money from the ATM, usually in $100 amounts. Problem is she would do this maybe for several days in a row. Never could figure what she was doing with it, no new clothes, no groceries. The lawyer seemed mainly concerned with $500 or greater amounts in checks written to specific people and why. My niece had managed to get money out of mom for awhile this way.
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Reply to anonymous144432
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It appears to be about $2,000 a month but $100 a day or every other day. All her bills are set up for auto pay. We do know that she is a drinker and was buying alcohol and cigarettes...but who can explain $2,000 worth of alcohol and beer a month? 😨
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Reply to lizsdaughter207
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can you tell us how much was taken out each month?

my mom used to take out a small amount of cash from her checking as she liked having cash on hand. she would keep it in the hall closet hidden.

she used the cash for hair cuts. or breakfast/lunch out. maybe to put gas in the car. she would give my dad cash as he didn't really write checks. and I don't think they were using debit cards either.
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Reply to wally003
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I think the patient having Dementia would determine what they do. Maybe you can do a little investigating. See if anyone at the bank remembers the person coming in and withdrawing money and if anyone was with them. Is the charge large? If not, then maybe the person withdrew spending money for the month.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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The five year look back requires 5-years of bank statements and they will question unusual withdrawals and will require explanations. Not sure how they will handle not knowing where the money went.
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