I’ve been helping my parents out by buying them clothes, groceries, etc. Can mom pay us back?


My step-dad passed and left no life-insurance. We did find out that he had a teacher reitirement. For the last four years, we’ve been helping them a lot. My mom had a stroke over two years ago and it’s a mess. So now she’s back n the hospital after passing out due to a blockage. She needs Medicaid. How much of the money is she allowed to pay us back? I’m now having to find another place where she is closer and is going to be taken care of better. Due to this wonderful Medicaid “spend down”. She will neeed to spend money. My car needs repairs. My daughter needs braces. Legally what can she do? Thanks

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Dear Reallyconfused,

I'm so sorry to hear about everything you are going through. I wonder if talking to a social worker might be able to help you and your family and see if there are other options. You are a good daughter for doing as much as you have.
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Reply to cdnreader


Unfortunately, they lost their home due to the cost of medications and medical bills. Both stopped working and one became disabled but he, the one who passed was not the age of retirement when he did pass away. He was my stepdad and younger than my mother but I was still very close. I didn’t even know they had lost their home. They had managed to keep that fact to themselves. Many facts regarding the finances are just now becoming blatantly obvious. They’d been in severe financial crisis for a very long time but had not told anyone. So... going back to what you mentioned, yes, my husband and I had been helping them out as much as we could over the last four years. Not knowing how bad it really was. As for keeping receipts, I always just gave them to my mom when I took her shopping. The items that I purchased when she had her stroke, I don’t have those receipts any longer. Many times I would give them cash as their account was overdrawn. I never imagined in a million years that this would happen. When my stepdad passed, he had stopped paying the life insurance premiums. He unknowingly left my mom in quite a bigger mess finically. My husband and I have paid what we could towards her past due rent, food, etc. and what we can towards the funeral expenses. I do have receipts for the funeral home. I’m getting to the point. We recently found he did have a small teachers retirement benefit. As we’re having to move my mom into a residential care as she can no longer live at the rented house nor afford the expenses and she fell we’re spending more money. Money that we don’t have. We’ve done a poor job at savings as I had pretty bad medical issues myself. Now we could really use the help and she could really use the Medicaid. Never in a million years did we expect him to pass first and leave us in this situation. I tried talking to them about the money for years not even thinking about other questions that I should be asking. Let alone keeping receipts. I never knew. Thanks
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Reply to ReallyConfused

ReallyConfused, I see from the title of your post that you help out your parent by paying for their clothes, groceries, etc. I assume these were items that they requested but could not go out on their own to purchase. Correct? Just curious why whenever you, lets say you went grocery shopping for them, that they didn't pay you when you brought in the groceries?

If your parents weren't paying you, you would have needed to have kept copies of all receipts along with copies of the checks or credit card payment you used to pay for your parents items over those past 4 years. If you don't have any of these receipts, then unfortunately you cannot be paid back. If you do have all the receipts, then call your State Medicaid office and ask them if such payment is allowed.

The spend down can only be for items that your Mom needs to have for herself. If Mom needs to go into a nursing home, she can use that money to be self-pay for a month or so, then once she reaches the limit, then Medicaid will kick in.
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Reply to freqflyer

Unfortunately not much you can do. People who work the system begin gifting money to their kids long ago so that it falls outside the five year (I may be wrong on that) clawback. Its in the past, but for others futures, if they didn't have the funds such as you had to pay for them, they should have gone on Medicaid them.
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Reply to Karsten

You cannot use your mother's money for your personal/family expenses.
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Reply to Tothill