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** This article has been revised from its original version which was published on May 19, 2015.
If your parent is living with you, they can still qualify for Medicaid.
It is very common for a parent who is ill, or one that requires some care, to move in with an adult child to receive the attention they need. Typically in these situations, the child takes on many of the parent’s expenses, which can deplete their financial resources. If you have taken on the role of caretaker, it can also be taxing on your time, energy, and emotions.
It is also not uncommon to end up paying all or a majority of the expenses while siblings pay a lesser amount. You may not feel it’s worth asking siblings for money for groceries, gas to travel to doctors’ visits, and medical co-pays, but these small amounts can add up to significant expenses over time.
For this reason, it may make sense to help your parent apply for Medicaid.
New York Nursing Home Medicaid and Community Medicaid
Medicaid is a government safety net that helps seniors offset costs for long-term care. Long-term care is a necessity when facing declining health with age and can be very expensive. To qualify for Medicaid, it requires exhausting your personal resources first. For middle-income seniors, this may wipe out resources for a surviving spouse or children and deplete any potential family inheritance or legacy.
Medicaid Look-Back Periods
To get around this problem, some people mistakenly believe they can give away money or resources to friends and family before applying for Medicaid. To prevent this, New York’s Nursing Home Medicaid uses a five-year look-back period to evaluate their financial transactions.
New York’s Community Medicaid is used for in-home care services provided by caretakers like adult children or health care professionals. The look-back period for these services is currently three years instead of five. The costs for medical assistance and care in the home are much less than in a nursing home facility. A shorter look-back period is an incentive to use these services first and decreases the burden on facilities.
The Medicaid look-back is used to ensure that you haven’t given away your money or resources to get the government to pay for care instead of using your available money or other assets. Attempting to hide money can lead to serious penalties, which delay benefits for months or years. In the meantime, you or your loved one is responsible for payment. This means selling property and liquidating hard-earned assets.
Contact an Estate Planning Attorney in New York
Helping your parent qualify for Medicaid without losing their home or belongings would help alleviate some of your stress and financial expenses. It may also help avoid the resentment that can occur between siblings.
It is important to speak with a qualified elder law attorney in New York who specializes in Medicaid planning and long-term care. They can guide you through the pitfalls of a complex Medicaid application, ensure you don’t incur any penalties, and preserve a portion of your parent’s estate.
Caretaking for a parent is a labor of love, but don’t forget your own needs. For help with the Medicaid planning process, please do not hesitate to contact an elder law attorney at Russo Law Group, P.C, with questions. Benefit from our experience, as well as caring and compassionate staff. Contact our experienced professionals familiar with New York laws. You may also take advantage of our free seminars and webinars to learn more about how Russo Law Group, P.C., helps with Medicaid benefits for your parent.