Weinstein & Randisi
Toll free:800-768-1780

Resize the Content Text

The Medicaid "look back" period and how it affects planning

As previous posts on this blog have discussed, many middle class residents of Rochester, New York, who have worked hard all of their lives may find themselves in a bind as they approach old age and retirement. They will either have to fork over tens and possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for medical and nursing home care, or they will have to rely on Medicaid for help once they stop earning income.

The difficulty is that Medicaid is for New Yorkers who have both limited income and assets. A person with a bunch of property saved up, even if it was earned through hard work and even if it is intended as a family legacy, will likely not qualify for Medicaid.

This is why many people in New York, with the help of qualified elder law attorneys, engage in a "Medicaid planning" process, meaning that they start to give away or otherwise divest themselves of assets early on in order to qualify for Medicaid when they need it.

While this is not "wrong" per se, Medicaid does try to discourage people from quickly dumping their property in order to get on to Medicaid by imposing a "look back period." Specifically, the Medicaid "look back' will subject a person trying to get on the Medicaid to penalties for most assets that they give away within 5 years, or 60 months, prior to applying for Medicaid benefits. This is true even if the gift would not be taxable under state or federal gift tax rules.

So, for example, if a person trying to qualify for Medicaid gives away a $10,000 saving bond to a child or other relative and then applies for Medicaid 2 years later, the government may require that person to pay $10,000 toward their medical expenses before Medicaid will kick in, effectively ignoring the fact that the person gave the $10,000 away. Fortunately, gifts outside the look back period are not subject to penalties.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
  • I wanted to write to say how pleased my wife and I were at your professional handling of our estate planning and preparation of new wills. We were put at ease by your visit to our home for an interview and were pleased that you listened to us and captured the things that we felt were important.

    --Robert and Christine Simonson, Fairport
  • In order to finalize the documents we came to your office and were greeted in a very professional manner and we could not have asked for finer service. We left with copies of everything we needed and feel very confident our needs have been met. Thanks again. We will surely recommend you should the opportunity arise.

    — Christine and Robert Simonson, Fairport
  • I have been working with Weinstein & Randisi for about two years now. Elizabeth Randisi, through a very thorough process, has helped my wife and me determine what is really important in our lives. Thus, we were able to draft a living will that reflected our most important values regarding our estate.

    --David and Ajia Cherry, Fairport
  • I would like to give a testimony for Elizabeth Randisi, an estate attorney with Weinstein & Randisi. Her knowledge of wills and estate planning was clearly demonstrated in her presentation to us. Realizing our need for a will, my husband and I went to see Elizabeth.

    --Kathy and Gary Gray, Webster
  • Filing for Medicaid is never an easy or fun process. However, working with the Weinstein & Randisi firm made the process simple and streamlined. We were able to obtain all files and records regarding Medicaid enrollment within a few days using specially prepared checklists and verbiage recommended by our assigned paralegal.

    --Ajia and David Cherry, Fairport
Awarded Top 50 Estate Planning Blog
Email Us For a Response

How Can We Help You?

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Blog Feed


Weinstein & Randisi - estate planning

290 Linden Oaks, Ste. 200
Rochester, NY 14625

Toll Free: 800-768-1780
Phone: 585-310-1578
Rochester Law Office Map


Call us now for a free, 100% confidential consultation: