How many years must go by after my mother signs over her house so that we can get Medicaid help?

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If she transferred house today, then no application till after Spring, 2023 to be beyond the current 5 yr look back. That’s a l....o...n..g long time. And states can tinker with the lookback period of state legislators need to.

With what’s currently happening with SNAP, & if current R group remains in Congress, I’d bet a case of processo that look back will be extended to 7yrs.

If she needs a NH before 2023, and applies for Medicaid the transfer will eventually surface. & what will likely happen is a transfer penalty period would likely be placed against her which means that although she is now impoverished to qualify for Medicaid she is ineligible for Medicaid to pay for her stay till the transfer period is over. If she has entered a facility and is Medicaid Pending that stops and she reverts to private pay to day 1 of entry. If she cannot return to care provided by family in their home, then family will need to pay for her stay. If family ignores the situation then what seems to happen is the facility contacts APS and they get an emergency ward of the state placed on mom. A court appointed guardian takes over all aspects of her care, finances, etc.

Guardian can go hard ball on this and ask APS to look into the possibility of charging you, dpoa, whomever got house with taking advantage / financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult. Really you don’t want to go these things tend to snowball.

Transfer penalty is basically a math (division) problem. The divisor is unique to whatever your state pays as the daily Medicaid room & board day rate. Avg is around $170 a day. So a house with a tax assessor value of 325k at $170 R&B that’s transferred means 1,912 days (slightly over 5 years) of ineligibility, 200k House 1176 days ineligible.

If heir(s) qualify for any of the Recovery exemptions or exclusions, it might be better for elder to continue to own their vacant home if your state allows that option. Family will need to be able to pay all property costs from day1 of Medicaid - as all elders monthly income is paid to NH - till beyond death and property claims, liens, exemptions, probate, etc issues are dealt with. Sometimes family rent the property but rental income becomes part of the required copay to the facility. None of this is simple and not really a DIY project. Mom is best meeting with an elder law atty to discuss what the options could be for your states laws.
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5 years is the look back period. If sooner they will call it a gift and come after the equity. Just because it seems like it is forgotten amidst all Medicaid mess and time passes they will catch it and come after anyone trying to work the system. I am not implying you are, just wanted to stress how serious they are and they have lots of time to get money back.

Hopefully mom has good equity that can be used for her care until she is broke and then qualifies for Medicaid.
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