Medicaid Myths Part One

Myth #1: My loved one is already in the nursing home, so there is nothing I can do.

While it is true that many people wait longer than they should have to contact an Elder Law Attorney, very rarely is it ever “too late” to make that call.  However, generally speaking, the sooner you call, the better the result.


Myth #2: We can simply add the children’s names to my loved one’s assets to “protect” them from Medicaid.

This common myth will not only disqualify your loved from being approved for Medicaid benefits, it could have disastrous consequences by disqualifying them for up to five years. Medicaid regulations provide various strategies which allow for Medicaid approval AND asset preservation. A qualified Elder Law Attorney is the best source for taking full advantage of these opportunities.


Myth #3: My loved one can give away up to $14,000 per year and still qualify for Medicaid.

Many people mistake this federal tax rule with Medicaid regulations. The tax code provides that an individual may give away up to $14,000 per year per donee, however, ALL gifts made in the 5 years preceding a Medicaid application will result in the imposition of a “penalty period”. The “penalty period” is the amount of time an individual will be ineligible for benefits because of the gift(s). There are strategies which allow for the “gifting” of certain assets which will not result in the imposition of a “penalty period”, however, these strategies should only be pursued at the direction of a qualified Elder Law Attorney.


Myth #4: If my loved one receives Medicaid benefits, the State will take their home.

The State of Michigan just recently began an aggressive policy to collect from the estates of deceased Medicaid recipients. In some cases the family homestead or farm has been targeted by the State. Thankfully, there are several strategies available which may enable Medicaid recipients to protect their property for their children and grandchildren. It is important to call a qualified Elder Law Attorney to ensure that you will be able to get the care to which you are entitled and that your property will be passed on according to your wishes.