How can we spend the $750 Mom's asset level is over by for Medicaid eligibility?

A fellow caregiver asked...

HELP!! We are applying for Medicaid to begin no later than May 1, 2010. We have prepaid nursing home for May but are still $750 over the maximum of $2500 assets she may keep. How can we spend $750 by end of this month?

Expert Answer

In order for your mother to qualify for Medicaid coverage of nursing home care, she can have no more in assets than the state Medicaid program's asset limit. When deciding her eligibility for nursing home coverage, Medicaid will look at any amount your mother spent in the five years prior to applying for coverage, including that last $750. Any amount that she simply gave away during that period, or spent on something for which she paid more than its true value, can disqualify her from eligibility for a period of time. On the other hand, any legitimate expenditures she has made are not counted when Medicaid considers the applicant's assets. So, she can spend that $750 any way she wants, as long as it's for herself and a legitimate expenditure (such as prepaying personal expenses) and not a giveaway or "hiding" of money. If there are no legitimate ways you can think of for her to spend the money, she could consider paying it to the nursing home as a prepayment; the nursing home's administrator should be able to help you with that. And even if she does not spend the money before the end of the month, Medicaid may permit her to qualify for nursing home coverage if she pays the $750 to the nursing home, with Medicaid paying the remainder of her month's nursing home bill; to see if that will work, check with the Medicaid eligibility officer where your mother is applying for coverage.