My Mom's in a NH on self-pay and money is running out. What can we do?

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Due to asset transfers within the last five years,she will not be eligible for state aid..Currently self pay money is running out..I was told by several lawyers before she went to nursing home that I could not keep her from her money..I agreed to that..Now that the available money is almost gone She is in financial trouble,and so am I..Where can I receive free legal consultation and advice..There have been assets that have not been accounted for..and are not returnable..I don't want to pull her out of the NH,but but I have to do what I have to do
She is 92 years old And is in southern Illinos

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You already got your legal advice. You either take her home or abandon her to the state. They will take her house and anything in it and sell it off.
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What mom will face is a transfer penalty inquiry for the Medicaid application.

What I would suggest is that mom applies to be "Medicaid Pending" at the NH which I assume takes Medicaid. I hope she is the kind of resident that the NH wants and likes, so the NH will want to keep her. Work with the NH to find out how they want her co-pay on Medicaid to be paid to them (like they want to be named as the representative payee for mom's SS or retirement - usually I think this is a bad idea but you kinda have to make super nice with the NH to keep them from giving mom a "30 Day Notice" to move, so if they know that they are getting moms monthly income with no issues, it will help .) Start to get together all of mom's financials for the past 5 years. Now you know that there is going to be an issue with a penalty. But you want to get her qualified for Medicaid and then work on an appeal and waiver for the penalty to get her eligible for Medicaid payment.

How the transfer penalty works is this: say mom gifted her 80K home to her church; mom has 60K in savings & gets $ 1500 in income each month. Mom moves into NH private pay. All OK till this month when mom is $ 2K short for $ 4K NH monthly bill. You pay 2K difference. Mom applies for Medicaid and is "Medicaid Pending" for the NH. Medicaid caseworker will find the 80K gifting of the home and will send mom or whomever is her contact a transfer penalty inquiry letter which much be responded to within a short time-frame.You respond with the details on the church. Transfer penalty is based on your states daily reimbursement rate for Medicaid. Like for TX it is $ 145.00 a day, so 80K is about a 550 day transfer penalty. Because mom is now impoverished & at-need Mom will qualify for & accepted by Medicaid BUT because of the penalty is ineligible for Medicaid to pay till the 80K is paid, waived or worked through. Being "accepted" on Medicaid does provide for some safeguards for her health & safety, which you want to have in place. And you are going to file an appeal on the transfer penalty decision.I dealt with a transfer penalty for my mom with her car and although it was a flurry of paperwork, it was something I could do as car stuff is manageable. I think you will need to get an elder law attorney to work with you on this and by having a lot of the documents done and a time-line done you are lowering your costs to for the legal costs.

So just what is the backstory on the transfer? Worthless nephew (really there is one in every family) or was it a con-artist? What the situation was for the transfers will make a huge difference in whether or not it is able to be appealed and waived. You can get a transfer penalty waived.

But you will need to get the documents together on all this and show a pattern of incompetence (or pig-headedness). I would detail the dates in which you spoke with the attorneys who told you that you could not keep her from her $ too. If any of them were paid by mom for legal, you want all that in the documents too. If it gets waived, mom will likely then become a ward of the state and the court will assign a guardian. You and other family will be removed from any fiduciary duty for mom; it kinda has to be done as family failed to do whatever to keep things from this point and did not file for guardianship on their own before it got to this point. Now the guardian does or does not have to work with family. If you want to stay in the loop for mom, you want to work with the court appointed person even if you have to bite your tongue to do so. They do want to form partnership with family but they direct. transfer penalties do get waived but you have to apply for Medicaid and do the whole appeal process.

Whatever you do, do NOT take her from the NH. If she has applied for Medicaid and been accepted, then the NH has to follow Medicaid rules on discharge. They won't & can't kick her to the curb overnight. You have to stay focused on all this and not let the looming situation overstress you - make it your mantra that she will get her appeal, she will get her appeal, she will get her appeal….Good luck.
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