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For now mom lives with me and my husband, she has dementia and I know the time is coming she will have to go to a nursing home. She has almost $7,000 in the bank which I know is over the $2,000. amount that is allowed by Medicare.
Am I allowed to put this money toward burial expenses?

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I think you are confusing Medicare with Medicaid. But the amount you are talking about for assets is right for Medicaid (in most states). Generally, it's fine to use money for pre-paid funeral expenses, but each state is somewhat different. I'd check with your local Medicaid people.
Good luck,
Carol
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Yes you can most definately pay for funeral expenses up front. That is one of the main ways of spending down and will make things much easier for yourself in the long run. A few states I have heard dont allow this so just be sure to check your states guidelines first!
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Yes as Carol said, it's MedicAID. Find out from your state's Medicaid website what the exact amount they are allowed as "assets" - that would be the $ in the bank. In general, it's 2,000.00. Also be sure that mom's "income" is under whatever her state sets as the max. Like for TX is $ 2,094.00. Income is their SS, an annuity or retirement or other monthly income. If they only get SS, then it's usually under 1K if they are in their 80's or 90's, so no problem. If it's somehow more than 2K, they can do a Miller Trust (Qualified Income Trust) for the excess

For the funeral / burial stuff, you have to buy a policy. No just leaving it in a bank account. Most funeral homes totally get the buying a preneed for Medicaid asset diversion. The key is the amount of the policy (some state have it limited to 5K) and that the policy is NCV = No Cash Value and not revocable. NCV is mucho importante in anything Medicaid. So a whole like insurance policy with a cash value has to be used for spend-down BUT a term policy that is NCV and pays only to the beneficiary after death is OK. Understand?

I'd also suggest you take some of the 7K and get all her legal done or updated. Often the NH will require they have DPOA, MPOA done and able to put into their file on admission. Look at her will and see if it needs to be update by a codicil (usually because a beneficiary has died). The cost will be very reasonable and a totally accepted spend-down.

It's really good you are starting to plan ahead now on applying. I'd suggest you get a big binder and start to put her paperwork in it. Like her annual statement from SS that came to her back in January - you will have to supply a copy of that for the Medicaid application. As you find her bank statements for the past 3 years put them in there too. If she has insurance policies, then those too go into the binder.
If she sold her home or car in the last 5 years OR still has those, then that paperwork. All can be required documentation for the Medicaid application and doing it now while you are NOT in a panic or under duress is just so much less stressful. fyi my mom's application was over 100 pages mainly due to her old-schoool insurance policy and her look back was for 3 years & 6 months of financials. The key with dealing with it is to have as much of the documents in front of you so that you can fax it to the caseworker asap. Everything so far with Medicaid has pretty severe windows in which to provide the required documentation and if you don't then it goes into a "info not provided pile" and then into a decline pile. You will be in paperwork purgatory. Oh and they have to be recertified annually for Medicaid. For TX, it's a 6 page form they send and I have to include mom's last 4 months of bank statements and some other fun stuff that was provided with the initial application AND in prior years recertification. The best part is all is due 13 days from the date on the letter.....and since it's state mail there is NO postmark on the envelope. It always gets into my mailbox either on the date due or few days after it's due. But because of my trusty binder, I can fax over whatever in short order and mom get's recertified. Good luck and keep a sense of humor in all this. You'll need it!
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Thanks for the answers. I have a binder of all expenses and statements and anything else you can think of. I am her DPOA and all paper work is up to date.
Thanks again, linda5
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