Elder & Disability Law Office, Ltd., John Belconis
350 South Northwest Highway, Suite 300
Park Ridge, IL 60068                
(847) 430-3652     

Medicaid’s Myths Can Lead To Tragic Consequences

Medicaid’s nursing home laws have become increasingly complex over the years. So, it’s no wonder there are many myths and inaccuracies that exist. Knowing the truth about these myths is the key to getting the assistance that you and your loved one may need. This month, we are taking a look at some of the common Medicaid misconceptions.

Myth #1: Perhaps the most prevalent Medicaid myth relates to the applicant’s home. “My next door neighbor told me that if I enter a nursing home, then I must sell my home or give it to the state or nursing home in order to qualify for Medicaid.” Assuming that the home must be given to the state or immediately sold can be a costly error. A careful analysis of the laws is recommended to determine what course of action should be taken and whether the home can be protected.

Myth #2: “Medicaid’s 5 year look back rule states that if I give anything away during the 5 years prior to filing a Medicaid application, then I must wait out the full 5 years before I can apply for Medicaid.” Medicaid’s rules do penalize many transfers and the agency will examine your financial records, however, that does not mean you must wait a full five years before qualifying for benefits.

Myth #3: Another myth that hangs on persistently is the misconception that Medicaid allows you to give away $14,000 a year. The $14,000 rule is a tax rule and has nothing to do with asset transfers and Medicaid eligibility.

Myth #4: “Medicare will pay for my nursing home care.” Medicare will pay for up to 100 days of acute skilled care at a nursing home.

Myth #5: “My child’s name is on my certificate of deposit, so at least ½ of my money is protected in their name.” Your child has to prove that they contributed money into the account, otherwise, all of the money will be considered to be the applicants.

Myth #6: “If I give away assets to family members, then I won’t qualify for Medicaid.” It is true that some transfers of property or assets will disqualify you from obtaining Medicaid. The value of the assets transferred determines how long you will be disqualified. However, certain transfers won’t disqualify you. Whether or not you become disqualified depends on who receives the asset, when it was transferred and the type of property that you are transferring.

Myth #7: “The Medicaid rules that applied to my neighbor will also apply to me.” Whether this is true depends on a number of factors. For instance, when your neighbor applied is critically important. The Medicaid laws in Illinois have changed quite a bit over the past year, so what worked for your neighbor may not work for you.

Myth #8: “The Medicaid office can just give me the paperwork and help me through the application process.” Those who work in the Medicaid office will process your application, but they do not have lawyers on staff to represent you and they will not offer legal advice.

Myth #9: “My father is already in nursing home so there’s nothing we can do now.” It’s true that a family can wait longer than they should to contact an elder law attorney, but a good plan may be established even after entering a nursing home.

Mistakes such as these can be avoided. If we can ever be of assistance to you or the families that you are assisting, do not
hesitate to call us at (847) 430-3652.

Disclaimer – This newsletter does not constitute legal advice. This information is provided for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing is meant or intended to create an attorney client relationship. For specific legal advice relating to your situation contact a competent attorney in your jurisdiction.