Will our shared assets affect his Medicaid eligibility?

2 answers | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

I have been handling my uncle's affairs for over 6 years since his declining health. He lives alone still. His pension (<$2200/mth) has been direct deposited into my checking account for many years for simplicity, and it is used to pay for all of his expenses. I have also been allowed to use it for my basic expenses and kids schooling as well. There is no accumulation of assets or "savings" per say. Will this "sharing of assets" affect his qualification for Medicaid, which may be on the horizon?

Expert Answers

Whether your sharing in your uncle's assets will affect his eligibility for Medicaid may depend on which of Medicaid's programs he applies for. If he is just applying for Medicaid medical coverage, which pays for all regular medical care, Medicaid will not bother to look at what he has done with his assets in the past. Medicaid will only consider his current income and assets. In your uncle's case, however, his pension, plus whatever other income he has, may be too high for him to qualify for Medicaid coverage in your state, unless he also has high medical bills. To find out what Medicaid income eligibility is for a single person in your state (it varies from state to state), contact your state's Medicaid program. Go to the federal government's Benefits.gov website and choose your state. This will take you to a page with information about your state's Medicaid program, as well as contact information about local offices.

If your uncle applies for Medicaid coverage of nursing home care, the rules are different, and more complicated. When someone applies for Medicaid nursing home coverage, Medicaid looks at the applicant's current income and assets, but also at whether the applicant has given away any assets during the previous five years. If someone has given away assets during that time in order to qualify for Medicaid nursing home coverage, Medicaid may deny eligibility for a period of months, the exact length of this penalty depending on how much in assets was given away. But the crucial point here is that Medicaid will delay eligibility only if the giveaway of assets was for the purpose of "hiding" that money in order to qualify for Medicaid. Because your uncle had a legitimate reason to share his assets -- to help support you and your kids -- and was not giving away this money just to qualify for Medicaid, your state Medicaid program is unlikely to delay his eligibility for nursing home coverage based on your shared assets.

You should be aware, though, that if your uncle does qualify for Medicaid coverage of nursing home care, Medicaid will require that almost all of his pension income go to the nursing home to help pay for his care. That means that if he receives Medicaid nursing home coverage, you and your children will no longer be able to use any of that monthly pension money to help with your support.

Community Answers

Gucci answered...

hi,my mother is 96 years oldwe have no choice but to consider to place her in a nursing home ,my mom ang i own a house together both our names on thee deed, if she goes into a nuring home does medicaid take my portion of the house which is half of i own or do they just put a lien on it. thank you , gucci