My mom has been living with me for the past 4 yrs. Her checking acct has my name on it and after talking to the bank they said it is a joint account. I have been spending my own money to pay for her meds, food, medical supplies, etc. Her social security check goes in the acct every month. She recently went into the hospital and is now moving to a rehab facility and then possible long term care. If she does go into a nursing home for long term care, will they automatically get the money in that joint acct? I am no longer able to care for her due to her decline in health and mobility. I work full time and I've used all of my paid time off/ FMLA.

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I’m assuming that she’s going applying for Medicaid once Medicare rehab benefit stops. If joint account all the funds in it will be considered to be hers by Medicaid. Medicaid will require up to 5 years of her banking records.

It also sounds like You also - for even more fun in this - have it where her SS$ is being “commingled” with your income. Is that right?
Which for SSA is a huge butt issue. It is NOT allowed & tends to morph into SSA reviewing her direct deposit situation and requiring her payments to shift to “representative payee” status. Which you have to actually provide info to SSA as to why you are suitable as her representative payee. SSA can suspend payments till that is set up. SSA does not recognize POAs. Yeah read that again, POA means pretty much nothing to SSA.

I have a couple of suggestions like to get on ASAP:
- do whatever cheerleading you can to keep mom on Medicare rehab benefit phase. Talk with the PT, OT, etc to see how she is doing in “progress”. In theory Medicare rehab does 100% for 20/21 days and then IF they are still considering progressing in rehab can stay on rehab up to 100 days but at 80% pay by Medicare.
- You want / need her to ride rehab as long as feasible as you are going to have to deal with the intricacies of assets/ income determination from years of banking. This is super important!
- like this week or by next week, you go and open your own bank account and get with your employer to have your salary going into this account ASAP. I’d do it at the same bank.
- while your at the bank, getting the above done with a bank officer be sure to keep their card as your going to need to deal with the bank a lot next year....
- also while there, clearly ask IF that joint account is in mom’s SS# first or your SS# first as that in my experience determines primary ownership. I’m guessing it’s her SS# that opened it and that you got added to it as a signatory and they have your SS# to allow signatory to happen. But the acct reads as mom’s SS# primary ownership. If it pays interest, the primary will get a annual 1099 on it, that’s often 1 way to determine whose ownership is. Find out exactly at the bank as it will matter for Medicaid.
- Also find out if it has a POD on it to you for when she dies. If not, see what needs to happen to get POD done. It may be too late if she is not competent & cognitive enough to meet 1-on-1 with bank officer.
- again do whatever to keep her on rehab phase.

Get a list from the NH as to the documents needed to accompany your mom’s Medicaid application. admissions office or SW should have this as a printed list.

2 main keys for the NH to transition her to go from MediCARE to becoming “Medicaid Pending” will be her
1. “awards letters”, the mailing she got like in Nov from SSA and any other retirements that state to the penny what she will make as monthly income 2019 &
2. Total on her bank balances for EOM all accounts for last 6 -12 months to be under 2k. Medicaid will want up to 5 years. But it’s my experience that NH will kinda just want last 6-12 mos to determine if will accept her as Medicaid Pending.
If NH won’t take pending, it will likely mean she / you have to private pay & have to sign a financial responsibility binding contract to pay if Medicaid falls through.

To me what path to take next.... like to attempt her Medicaid application on your own as her DPOA OR you just gird up and hire an elder law attorney to shepherd her application and deal with the banking mess... is kinda dependent on your ability to do serious juggling. Going into years of banking to thread out whose $ is whose isn’t simple and how much of costs you paid is reasonable to assume is excluded from being considered “gifting” and allowed to be deducted from her assets isn’t for the faint of heart. You’d need to be super organized, OCD, able to do Quickbooks/Excell and be very Pitt bully. If that’s just not you, get an atty from the start. Good luck!
Helpful Answer (2)

1. If you have been paying your own money into this joint account: It wasn't a great idea. "Co-mingled" is the bad word, I believe, in this context. But all the same, what you'll need to do is show what money is your money and what money is your mother's money; because wherever you keep your money it's still yours and not your mother's, and it can't be claimed by anyone for her care.

2. If what has happened is that your mother's account has been building up a nice surplus while you've footed all the bills for four years... you'd better do a lot of adding up, with receipts and invoices to back the figures, and work out how much you can claim back in well-evidenced outlay on your mother's behalf. But you'd better take proper, professional advice before you do that.
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