Will a Gift to Charity Affect My Medicaid Application?
As you start to transition your life to an assisted living facility, you will need to get the Medicaid application process started. It is important to understand that the Medicaid application process is complicated and can take a long time. It is not something you should try to do without the help of an experienced legal professional. There can be a lot of different things that affect your Medicaid application and your ability to get the benefits when you need them.
The Medicaid Look-Back Period
When you apply for Medicaid, there is a look-back period that Medicaid uses to establish how well you have handled your assets. Medicaid will review your asset distribution for the past five years to determine your overall eligibility. Any major shift in assets is going to normally count against you and delay your approval. For example, if you moved $10,000.00 in assets four years ago as a gift to one of your children and the average cost per month for an assisted living facility is $5,000.00, then your approval will be delayed by two months.
What About Charitable Donations?
Usually, Medicaid does not discriminate between the types of asset transfers your history may have. Medicaid would look at large charity donations in the same way it would look at large financial gifts to family members. If it looks like the intent is to lower the amount of assets to increase the Medicaid eligibility, then Medicaid will normally frown upon donations.
There Can Be An Exception
There are many people who have made it a habit to make large donations to their favorite church for many years. In some cases, if you can prove that your charitable donations were a consistent trend and not a one-time event, then Medicaid might consider allowing your charitable donations to not count against your look-back period.
What About Other Assets?
There can be a long list of dangers involved in trying to move large assets just before you start your Medicaid application. It is possible that the house you transferred to your children to keep in the family could be liquidated by Medicaid after you pass away. Not only do you put yourself at risk when you try to move assets ahead of a Medicaid application, but you can put your family at risk as well.
The Best Solution
You should have an experienced legal firm handle your Medicaid application process for you. Crisis Medicaid planning is done when you are on the verge of transitioning to assisted living but have not made any provisions to protect your assets. This sort of service can be invaluable as you prepare for a new chapter in your life.
The Mattar Firm offers crisis Medicaid planning services through our compassionate team of lawyers. We invite you to give us a call and let us help you through the application process.