What should I do with my mother's Social Security deposits if her nursing home is 100% covered by Medicaid?

1 answer | Last updated: Aug 13, 2010
A fellow caregiver asked...

My mother is 81 and in a VA nursing home with Alzheimer's. My father passed away last year. Mother's nursing home costs are paid 100% by Medicaid. Mother is still receiving a small Social Security direct deposit to her checking account. She still has a few minor expenses but the balance of her account is increasing each month. I have financial POA. What should I do with this money? Do I just let it accumulate? Should I invest it for her? Will Medicaid attach this money after her death? I want to handle this in the most advantageous manner but do not know what is allowed. Thank you.

Expert Answers

Steve Weisman hosts the nationally syndicated radio show A Touch of Grey, heard on more than 50 stations, including WABC in New York City and KRLA in Los Angeles. He is a practicing lawyer specializing in estate planning and is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. He's a public speaker and commentator who has appeared on many radio and television shows throughout the country, and he's the legal editor of Talkers magazine, the preeminent trade publication of talk radio. His latest book is The Truth About Avoiding Scams.

In order to maintain her eligibility for Medicaid, her countable assets , such as a bank account, may not exceed $2,000.  She is allowed to prepay a funeral.  You could use her excess funds for this purpose.  You can also purchase clothing, a radio, a television or other items of pesonal property for her.  If your durable power of attorney provides for it, you can also be paid a reasonable amount for acting as her agent.