What are the rules of giving money before going into assisted Living? How much can be given and what is the time period?

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My father may need to go into Nursing home/Assisted Living and has a small amount of money ($50K) that we would like to protect as much as possible

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Jinx has it right, What assets we have will be spent on ( hopefully) my husbands care needs at home. Terrible to think a spouse should be left destitute. When my husband did his POA the attorney explained the giving Money to children, the attorney give his two daughters the allowed max of $10,000 per year, if he ever had to apply for Medicaid all he has given them has to be paid back by them into his estate as part of the look back/spend down - I have a 63 yr old nephew who has been writing himself checks for over $2500 a month to pay mom & dads bliss etc, and is now thinking of having them both put in a nursing home due to failing health & dementia, he has kept no receipts for anything, I see a very rude awakening when the look back comes up on this case.
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Shjrink55, I hope you don't call yourself a christian. Or any religion, for that matter. You don't seem to have any understanding or compassion.

People with plenty of money may or may not have worked hard to deserve it, but I promise you they have been LUCKY! Whether they got their first job from a friend of the family, or never got cancer, or never had a child with medical problems, or never lost their home in a tornado, or never had their job shipped off to China, they have been lucky.

The hard-working, frugal people you call "Deadbeats" have been unfortunate. Have you ever tried to live on the minimum wage? Every time you eat at McDonald's, you are exploiting some "deadbeat" who works two jobs with no health insurance so your Big Mac doesn't cost $10.

I'm in the category where I know my husband will outlive his assets, and need help from Medicaid. I'm going to be wise with my money so I can keep as much as I can, but I know that an awful lot will be paid out before then.

It is NOT a requirement for the government to provide free NH care for elders, any more than they pay our rent or food bills. The people like me, who have been lucky so far, need to pay what we can for our own care.
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Caregivers beware of paying bills or receiving money from your elderly parent. ESPECIALLY if you are the sole caregiver. It is not good enough to keep track in a ledger if you have ugly siblings who are greedy. After the death, when you - who cared the most to give the parent the dignity of final passage in the home - the others will come after you, say to stole from the house, stole money from an account....and they can win!! So...from my experience, here is what you need to do. Make sure your parent signs each entry in a ledger, or better yet use your cell phone to video every time they ask (give permission) you to go get them money from the bank, or buy groceries (even $10 worth!!! sick isn't it, but the greed of the lazy runs deep). Make sure EVERY dime your parent gives you is documented with their signature and/or video permission. ALSO - get a your parent's doctor or lawyer to write a document that they are of sound mind and updated it monthly...this is especially necessary as the time of hospice care draws near...before they are on pain meds to the max, etc. BE PROACTIVE in protecting yourself. I should know 3 years of accusations, police reports, private investigators and mean spirited evil souls (my siblings) coming after me when I was the ONLY one in the family who actually wiped her butt and got her in the shower day after day, slept on her couch. Forget all the 'nice, loving' things you do for them. Your greedy siblings won't care and the law is on their side unless to proactively protect yourself. OH, one more thing. IF they do come after you, get a lawyer QUICK!
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I wonder if during the look back they care about smaller amounts, like say $300. My mother wants to contribute to an expense I'm having soon because I helped her with the same thing a few years ago. I haven't had the heart to tell her that soon enough likely all her assets will be gone and why - we haven't had the tough conversations yet.
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Why is it that it's assumed that people who can't afford nursing home care are because they were "deadbeats" who didn't work hard throughout their lives and/or were "frivolous" with their money? Many people work very hard and live paycheck to paycheck. And it's not "the government" paying for the care...it's my tax dollar and yours! So, if someone has a large amount of savings, why shouldn't it have to be used for their care as opposed to coming out of my paycheck????
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Shrink55 - you really ought to look up the topic. It's discussed on this site over and over again. Medicaid doesn't judge what you do with your money. However, they do protect the taxpayers from those who would try to hide a parent's assets so the government can support their parent and they can inherit the money.
For example, let's say a very frail person has $200,000 in assets (home, cash, investments) and they are very likely to need to be cared for within the 5 year look back period. That's enough money to pay their own way. And, if the person's children really want to inherit their parent's money, then they have the option of providing the care themselves and preserving the estate. Medicaid allows for all sorts of 'spend down' strategies (pre-paying a funeral, for example). But, unless you want to get into the sticky situation of taking your parents money and then having that discovered during the look-back process, you'd best seek the services of an attorney.
Also, the Medicaid application process is extremely complex and full of red tape. It probably wouldn't have to be if there weren't so many people hell-bent on trying to hide their parent's money instead of letting their parent use it to pay for care. Isn't paying for care one of the reasons we save money for our old age??
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Medicaid is an "at-need" program in which they need to show a documented need both medically and financially for skilled nursing. If everyone did what SHrink55 has suggested, there would be NO Medicaid program at all as neither the states or the feds would pay a dime for any NH. The system would be bankrupt in short order.

About the 10large cashed, the state can require documentation on where the 10K was "spent". Yes if he goes to the casino and blows it all, then he or his family better have documentation to show the trips to the casino's otherwise he will face a transfer penalty for the 10K. Until the transfer penalty is either paid or the length of time is worked through, he will be unable to have the state pay for his NH stay. That means either family private pays the NH or dad stays with family for the entire penalty period.

If they live long enough, they will run out of funds unless they are generationally wealthy and everyday I am grateful that Medicaid and Medicare is out there for those that qualify like my mid90's mom. BTW for my mom's application, she had to provide for 3 years and 6 months of all of her finances. Front & back of all her bank statements, letter from bank officer on letterhead as to the disposition of each and every account closed for the look-back period. And all documents provided within a few days from the request or they will get denied as documentation not provided.
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On this subject matter, the look back 5 years....how can they look back if you liquidate? For instance, we liquidate $10,000 and basically right a check for cash. Cash the check and place it wherever or spend it. Let's just say, my father decides to go on a crazy spend trip to the casino...OK, he blows $10K. He likes to gamble, whatever. He has worked all his life and it is his money to do whatever he wants. How and why should he not be able to do this? People should not be penalized because they want to spend their money and not on nursing homes that people without money are entitled to live in. It is just absolutely unfair. Why should my father who worked all his life be required to pay for nursing homes and the deadbeat that skipped through life and didn't save a dime, get it for a steal? Sux. Let's hear from the experienced!
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With the advice of our Elder Care.Atty. we had Mom's funds put in a Family Trust 6 yrs ago..So we can use her funds for her care or whatever she needs and there will be no penalties... I make sure she doesn't have more than $2000 in her checking acct each month..That's not really a worry she's only has SSI...
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Jim - 5 year lookback. That needs to be your mantra.

As others have said, get good legal & professional advise. So much of this will be dependent on what your elder's health status is and how much time you all realistically have before he must go into AL or NH. The 5 yr look back is federally mandated for the states to participate in Medicaid, so no way around it. Now Medicaid is managed by each state, so what the specifics are for qualifying will vary from state to state. Keep that in mind, like some states recognize an enhanced benefit trust (Lady BIrd deed) but other states don't, as you don't want to do something that works in Iowa but not in your state.

2019 - that is 5 years from now. So where do you think dad is on his timeline?
If he is 90 and cannot do any of his ADL's and needs AL or NH like now, well you are limited in what you can do in a spend-down. But if he is 80 and just kinda forgetful but gets out and still cuts the grass, then you have 5+ years and can do more. Really have a come to Jesus moment to be realistic about the situation.
Best of luck & keep a sense of humor...Medicaid application is a maddening maze
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