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Here is a very good thread on this subject.
The short answer is if your mom has $20,000 to give away she needs to see an elder attorney before doing so in order to understand the ramifications for her future.

https://www.agingcare.com/questions/protect-mothers-savings-when-goes-into-nursing-home-197284.htm
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Are you talking about the IRS gift tax, or are you asking about the Medicaid penalty if she requires nursing home care?
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There is a formula that determines how many days your mother will have to self-pay before she is eligible for Medicaid. I don't know it, but maybe someone can work it out for you. What state would her nursing home be in?
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20,000.
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