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You should get legal advice here, but my own feeling is that this must be spent on her needs only, and on health or other necessities. You may want to check with Medicaid to find out, but also, you may have to wait another month before she qualifies and just pay expenses as usual. It's tricky to spend any money unless the need is obvious.

Please check into this with Medicaid or an Elder Law attorney, or else just pay expenses one more month with that $4000. Then, apparently, she will qualify. If this is a matter of getting an available room, she should still get the room under private pay for that month and then go to Medicaid. Good luck. Make each step a sure step so you have no worries afterward.
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My elderly mother lives in assisted living (she has alz), rent just went up, she has no property, she has less than 20,000 in savings, which of course is fast dwindling. I don't think she will qualify for SSI as currently she recieves 2300 per month (total) however after the rent increase she will have less than 50 bucks left for personal expenses. Okay, that's the history, my question is can she transfer the money to me or my bro to use for her care--just in case the living facility increases rent again? Thanks for your help.
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my mom is in a nursing home in Illinois - has been there since middle of April. She has no POA and I am the only daughter who lives nearby. She was renting an apartment before she had her illness and so my sister & I have cleared that out & told them she won't be back. Her dr. says she will be a long-term resident (she has cancer & dementia). She gets social security & a pension check at beginning of each month = about $2200. She was made 'skilled care' when she first got to nursing home - they said Medicare would pay for the first 20 days.. well, it's over 20 days now & I have had absolutely no word about how her stay is being paid. She has medicare & also supplemental medical insurance. Do they not care if they are paid or ??? As of now, she has her May checks in her account at the bank (the home has no banking info at this point that I am aware of). She has not been made Medicaid (and will have to be since her checks would not equal a month's say at the home). She has bills still that need to be paid and can get out to the bank w/ me to withdraw money. Since she isn't Medicaid yet - is it okay if I take her to get some money out so I can get her bills paid for her or should we leave all of that money sitting in her account? I don't know what to do and I don't want to get into any trouble if we take money out.. Any advice? Thank you.
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Your best served by using the money to pay for things that will not be covered by Medicaid. Remember she will have only $ 30 - $ 60 a month in personal money to use once on Medicaid there will be no other money for her to access.

here's my suggestions:
A. if she has a home & you want to keep it - prepay utilities, property taxes,insurance, even do prepaid maintenance contracts for the yard, AC, etc. Poof $$$ all gone.

B. if she doesn't have a funeral & burial policy done - this will easily be more that $4K so another good spend down. The critical thing is to have the policy as
non-transferable and no cash value. NCV is a key when dealing with Medicaid.

C. if she doesn't have life insurance and is still young enough to buy it - a $ 1K or
$ 1,500 TERM life policy. This must be POD (paid on death) only with NCV and no ability to be transferred, the beneficiary ideally should be whomever is the executor of her estate. This would then be $$ the executor/family could use for her final/burial expenses. Again NCV is critical for anything you get for her.

Life insurance is sticky in that whole policies have a cash value (you don't want that). The CV amount of the policy MUST be under whatever is the Medicaid ceiling for insurance policies - for Texas it is $ 1,500. If not, you have to cash out the whole life policy before Medicaid will pay. For term policies, it's also important if mom is still kinda young enough to outlive her term policy to the point that it produces a dividend. That dividend is "income" for Medicaid so you need for the
dividend to either be: 1) required to be put back into the policy with no cash distribution OR 2) of such a low amount that it is under the state's ceiling. My experience is that insurance agents hate writing these as they make no real $$ on these type of policies. AARP seem to have the best & easy to set in place ones.

D. legal stuff - If she doesn't have a will, DPOA, MPOA and "guardianship in case of incapacity" done, then go see an elder care attorney to have this drawn up.
This maybe will cost $ 500 - 750 and well worth it.

E. if you have all of the above already done - dental work for mom. Get whatever done ASAP. 1 crown, cleaning and xrays & gum work and poof! 4k gone.

F. New glasses, hearing aid and a good premium walker (like a Hugo) are also good items to buy as Medicaid reinburseable's on those items are cheap and ugly.

G. New easy to put on and hot water washable clothing.

Remember to keep all the receipts and business cards, in case there is a glitch when her application is reviewed. Good luck!
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I was just faced with that exact same thing. It was my fathers life insurance policy face value that kept him from being approved for Medi-Cal/Medicaid. I requested the insurance company to issue a check for an amount below the max allowed by Medi-Cal. I withdrew 3000 from the policy. Leaving 1000 to keep the policy active. I took the money and went to the cemetary where my mother is interned. I sat down with a planner and worked out all the reasonable options. Its so much better to do this when its not really happening. You can think clearer when you are not crying and all. I pre-paid mostly all the funeral services. Now its done and when that time comes we can mourn properly instead of running around to funeral homes/cemetary etc. Now its only one phone call. I save the whole family a lot of trouble. I did that then had the insurance company resubmit the policy face value to the County. My Father was then approved for Medi-Cal.
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LillyLu, spending down usually is triggered by the decision to apply for Medicaid. The worst that could happen if spending down does not take place is that qualifying for Medicaid will be delayed. The idea that the money "could be yours someday" is generally not applicable. This person presumably does not have sufficient resources to pay his or her own way for the care that is needed. There is no extra money to be passing to the next generation. And there really is no question of spending the money or not -- the question is should all of the money be spent on the NH, and then apply for Medicaid when it runs out, or should it be spent on things that will meet the needs of the person (such as a custom wheelchair or prepaid funeral) and then qualify for Medicaid sooner.

It seems to me the hard question is, do we need to apply for Medicaid? If/when the answer is "yes," then spending down is a given.

If all that is standing between the needy person and qualifying for Mediciad is $4,000 (as in the original posting), then the only question left is what is the best way to spend that $4,000.
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My uncle went ahead and took care of final expenses - the dreaded F (funeral ) word.
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As igloo says, she will not have much money to buy things after Medicaid starts paying for the NH, so think ahead and buy what she will enjoy there now. Good sturdy comfortable walking shoes. A comfortable chair for her room. She may want familiar things with her, but if she likes new things, a new bedspread, cushions, etc. to spruce up her room. Some simple-to-use device for listening to music. A nice radio, like a Bose.

It is really nice that she gets to spend the money, rather than being required to pay it to the NH. Take advantage of that opportunity.
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jeannegibbs: I agree that future generations will probably not see anything. However, in the state of CA, with the 5 year look-back (which is too late for us) any selling of assets is noticed by social scecurity (because it has been listed on the tax forms, etc.) So, I say good luck to you all! We happened to be in the same boat. And would you believe it !!!! It is about $4,000 too. So, mom cannot get medicaid, but she is still low income and qualifies for those particular benefits.
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Spending down in CA is very strict. Debts have no bearing on anything. One has to spend down on medical bills and be able to show proof.
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