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My mom has been a permanent resident at a nursing home since last June. One brother from another state is living there. Another brother who shares a bank account with my mother and is POA has been paying rent on her apt. that she won't be returning to unfortunately. He told me that a lawyer informed him that people do this because they have hope of returning to their home/apt. I don't believe this to be true. I believe that all that rent that was paid is going to have to be paid back to Medicaid. It would come from the $15,000 and change that she's allowed to have. I want her to have all that money for herself since she'll only be allowed to have $50/month. It is not because I want that money someday. I would 100% agree to have any leftover money go to St. Jude, her favorite charity. It can be done. Besides there is no amount of money that would ever make me feel better after losing my mom. I'm shaking at the thought as I wrote "losing my mom". Someone tried to tell me that my brother that's living in her apt is stealing from my mom and she doesn't like people taking advantage of seniors. I defended the heck out of him. Shame on me because I get it now. Whether intentional or not it is a form of stealing I think. Any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks very much.


Edit: Just in case, nursing home Medicaid is still being processed since last summer. --- I hope I'm wrong about anyone stealing. I always proudly told people that a lot of adult children try to protect inheritance. We didn't. We did the opposite. (That's why I hope my brothers are not knowingly doing this to my mom.) She could have given us (3 brothers and me) each $25 in 2014. We didn't take it in case of anything. We would have been ok with the 5 year mark. Also, my brothers don't know that before that money was spent down, I could have had it in a trust all under my name only. There better be a seat in heaven for me. I know the question might come up as to why I didn't do that rather than let the state take it. I'm just not sure why. Thanks again.

Listen, you really need advice direct from someone who knows your state Medicaid laws. In PA we were allowed to keep up my mom's house as long as she expressed an intention of returning, however unfeasible, without penalty. Apartments may be different, NY may be different, and there is also the issue of insurers backing out if the place is uninhabited. Eldercare attorneys or estate planners can help you.
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worriedinCali May 23, 2019
This isn’t about keeping a house though. It’s about an apartment that is being rented. Paying rent on it is not an exempt asset for Medicaid in any state.
the OPs issue is solely about the apartment that her mother (by way of her brother) has been paying rent on while she’s been in a Nursing home.
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I can see that you have received many answers.

Nothing about a rental apartment is an exempt asset for Medicaid eligibility. It's just a debt. How long was the most recent lease for? A year? If so, since your mother is in a nursing home since June 2018, I cannot think of any legally valid reason that anyone could renew that lease/rental past its one year term.

Step up, call the landlord. Make sure that any lease renewal past the most recent renewal, is not in your mother's name. And it does not matter if someone has a POA. You just tell that landlord that your mother moved to a nursing home in June 2018 and nobody has a legal right to renew that rental/lease. And, then find out if last months' rent was already paid by your mother, and a security deposit. And, the concept of "intend to return home", as others have said, has nothing to do with rentals.

I know, I sound harsh: but, seriously, step up. Once the landlord knows that there is a family dispute, and possible legal issues, I bet that the landlord wants nothing to do with your family.....not matter who is right or wrong in your family.
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Theart May 23, 2019
Awe, no, not harsh. Thank you anyway. Her recertification was a couple months ago. The most recent lease began this month. Even if she needed to break the lease 6 months ago or within the lease, the manager would have definitely approved it. Also, the manager actually has been and is still being very compliant. He doesn't care either way plus he likes us all very much. I know people won't feel that matters or is justified, but that's really the way it is. I thank you so very much for your reply and the information. It is more appreciated than you know. I mean that. Thank you again.
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Is she in a state that allows a Medicaid recipient $15,000 in the bank while Medicaid pays for a NH? That sounds like a lot of liquid asset for them to allow. I thought most states allowed $2000 max but maybe I'm misunderstanding. I don't think Medicaid is going to take back or want expenses paid for her apartment even while in NH if she was paying both, even though it may seem like it depending on how you look at it, that money isn't something she is "giving away" so my guess is your clear on that. Now once her NH is being paid for by Medicaid (and whatever she has coming in) they will stop making enough money available to her to pay the apartment expenses, they are paying for her lodging after all in one place, the NH not maintaining 2 homes. I'm sure your brother could take over the rent and expenses and stay if he chooses but Mom just isn't going to be able to support it once Medicare kicks in. I don't know enough about the situation to say he is taking advantage, there is also the theory that he is helping by living/staying there so the apartment isn't sitting empty and attracting all kids of issues. I don't know why the attorney would be suggesting this but there may very well be a lot to the idea that keeping the apartment gave her a goal, something to look forward to but maybe it's time for a discussion about the need to change that (unless brother picks up the bills and keeps it, then no reason to rock the boat with mom) since Medicaid isn't going to allow the funds for maintaining the apartment when they start picking up the full tab.
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worriedinCali May 23, 2019
Again—she is in NY state and she can $15k in cash/assets.
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Theart - You wrote that “Medicaid is being processed since last summer”, really? My experience is that Medicaid isn’t going to take almost a year to process an application and a NH isn’t going to have a resident in limbo as Medicaid Pending status for that long either. Are you sure she’s actually filed a Medicaid application? OR is it that she is actually in spend down phase?

If she had 100K, thats a good bit of $ and she possibly could be still in spend down. 100k plus a high amount monthly income could keep her private pay & in spend down for a year or year & 1/2 depending on what NH run in your area. If this is the case, the issue of whether paying rent for her old apt - which a son lives in rent free - may not have actually become an issue for Medicaid eligibility. The look back on her finances hasn’t happened as she’s still in spend down. Her application is on hold till she’s down to whatever the max assets allowed for her states LTC Medicaid program. Most states have this at 2k. You mention 15k. I’d suggest you clearly find out what the maximum asset limit is for her state and figure out when between what $ is left and her SS & other income as to just when she’ll hit the asset max for Medicaid. That’s when the past spending will become an eligibility issue...
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worriedinCali May 23, 2019
She’s in NY and $15k is the asset limit
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If brother is staying there, see if the lease can be transferred to him, and let him spend his own money on rent.
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Theart May 23, 2019
I don't know if you meant for that to be funny, but thanks for the much needed chuckle either way. Even if my brother was on disability, (he is not)I believe he would have to get on the waiting list. He not of senior age yet either. He continues to pay his rent in NJ. He staying in her apt to be near her. Not for anything, he sees her every day and brings food. He's great that way. He also keeps up on how they take care of her needs and whatnot. Same for me. I just don't want medicaid to take from her allowed 15K. That I definitely don't like.
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There are many ways to spend down assets to qualify for Medicaid.

I don’t know if keeping the apartment that she has a lease on is one way or not. I’ve never read that before. I have read that when she goes on Medicaid she would not be responsible for any debts so if she had to break a lease that would not be a concern unless someone had co-signed it. Then it still wouldn’t be on her.

However, if your mom needed to spend down $15,000 it should be spent on her. Dental care, new glasses, a new wardrobe, a better chair, etc. attorney fees, funeral expenses. These are all appropriate ways to spend down before qualifying for Medicaid. If she hasn’t already been given Medicaid how is she paying now? Is she in a Medicaid pending bed? I thought that came after the spend down. It’s difficult to know what is happening without all the information.
I hope it all works out for your mom and that your brothers aren’t jeopardizing her care.
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Theart May 23, 2019
Hi there. Not sure if I mentioned.... She spent down $100,00 on 1) aides before entering the nursing home and 2) the nursing home since last June. The $15,000 is what medicaid allows the patient to keep for themself. This way she doesn't really need to try and survive with the allowed $50/month. ---- If she entered the home with no money, they could not have kicked her out. You are allowed to stay until the medicaid is approved, but this was not the case with her. When she was admitted, she had about $75,000.
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Your brother’s lawyer is correct in that it’s done to give her hope that she’ll be able to return to her home.. not sure on rentals

If your mother gave your brother POA and shares a bank account with him how are your brothers “stealing”?

Rent isn’t considered an asset to Medicaid, right?

Sorry, I’m just confused 🤷🏼‍♀️

Hope you and your family can reach an agreement on this that works well for all of you 🙂
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Theart May 23, 2019
Hi there. My brother originally asked to be named on her account so that he could spend down $100,000 plus what she gets in social security and her pension. We didn't want her to know that the 100k inheritance was not going to us. It would really hurt her. What I don't want is for medicaid to turn around and say she has to pay back $535 per month for the last 12 months that was paid in rent. I don't want that to come from the $15,000 that she's allowed to have. $50/month is not a lot as she likes to get her hair done every week and shop when they have vendors, etc. Also online shopping. - Someone at my local medicaid office just told me that she is supposed to give up her apartment since my brother applied for nursing home medicaid and since she is permanent. We've known this since day one. I sure hope that maybe they gave me wrong information and that YOU are right. It would be a great relief. Believe me, when this neighbor at the apt complex accused my brother of stealing I can't express enough how much & how often I defended him. She also said that my brother should not be living there since my mom is not coming back. I led her, as well as others in the complex to believe that she was indeed coming back in case she was right. Again, I hope that you are right. I don't want her being penalized. They/someone at the medicaid office said it could also be considered fraud. If true, whether my brothers know it is or not, my mother does not know a thing. Thanks for your reply. I appreciate it.
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You didn't protect the money because paying for your own care is the ethical thing to do. It allows people that truly have no money a better chance or early placement to get the care they need.

Good job and kudos to you.

I can't believe that an attorney told your brother that people continue renting an apartment with the hopes that they will be coming home. A house you own is an entirely different story.

It is time to ask them how moms care is going to be taken care of if Medicaid penalizes her because they misappropriated her money. It is pretty simple, are they going to take care of her or are they able to repay the money?

I would contact the social worker and ask exactly how it works in your city. Then you can talk to your brothers with full knowledge of what exactly is going to happen.

I personally believe that your brother is taking advantage, he's not paying his own way and I find that to be an ugly thing in a male. Couldn't honestly call someone doing that a man, because in my book a real man wouldn't live off his mother. Just my personal opinion.

But in all reality the bank of mom needs to close and all of her money goes towards her needs.
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Theart May 23, 2019
Wow. Thank you so much for your reply. I really appreciate it. This is confirming what I thought. Either one of my brothers was really given incorrect information from a lawyer which I doubt or he knows full well what's going on and just told me that in case my mom's (old) neighbor was putting ideas in my head. That does hurt, but I must say that I did question this long before. It's possible he knew I had a good idea about it. I was doing all the medicaid before he took over. He DID ask me if I wanted POA and I said no and that I'd like to be a monitor. That didn't happen though. I was even helping him at first after he took over because he was unsure of some things. I guess I'm going to have to talk to him and let him know it needs to stop or she'll have no money for herself. If he and/or my other brother that's living there refuse, I'll have to do it another way. Forcefully. I truly don't want to. -- Just a side note... This neighbor of my mom's said something along the lines of what you said. She yelled at him one day to "be a man, get a job, stop stealing from your mom". He really is a good person just not without problems unfortunately. He never touched a drug or anything like that. Just some problems. Not sure yet if I can say he's stealing because he really may not be aware. I'm trying to give him the benefit of the doubt. Again, thanks so much and I hope all is well with you.
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Time to get rid of that apartment. That is a complete waste of her money.
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Theart May 23, 2019
I think it's (almost) unanimous. At least you all here. Thank you so much. I really hope I find out that my brothers really didn't know all this, but I don't see how yet. Trying to give them both the benefit of the doubt. My one brother is a named owner on her account, but I don't think that excuses where the money went. Heartbreaking to say the least cause I wouldn't expect this from them really.
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