Gifting goodwill may come back to bite when applying for Medicaid

by | Nov 18, 2019 | Long-Term Care Planning |

Medicaid comes in handy for covering the costs of healthcare, but the limitations can be strict. And unloading your assets to qualify might not work as well as you’d like.

Medicaid has varying limitations on income levels and resources, but meeting requirements may not be as simple as getting below to bar. The system has a look-back period in New York that stretches back five years. The program could take into consideration any significant money movement in the past and count it against your eligibility by enacting a penalty period.

Qualifying moves

There are ways around the limits that often revolve around immediate family. You might be in the clear in situations involving marriage assets, minor children and siblings, but moving beyond those bounds could be risky:

  • Gifts: Any money gifted away could jeopardize your eligibility. If you’re looking to get below the asset line by giving your grandchild the best honeymoon your extra money can buy, this may be a violation.
  • Donations: Handing cash over to an organization could mean you don’t have it anymore, but that may not clear it from a review of your countable assets. Giving money to your favorite charity may be well-intentioned, but a large enough sum could be seen as an attempt to circumvent Medicaid qualifications.
  • Transfers: Much like gifts and donations, transfers can cause a double take during a review. Just because you gave the house that took you out of Medicaid allowance to your cousin, doesn’t mean that it won’t mean a delay in benefits.
  • Sold: The sums of money you get from selling things may seem like obvious additions to your countable assets, but it can be more complicated than that. When Medicaid looks back over your transactions, selling a car far below market value may count as an attempt to ditch assets.

Knowing where you stand on Medicaid qualification can be essential to getting assistance, but understanding how you can get there can be equally as important. Stay inside the lines when considering your finances to ensure you get the benefits you need.