It’s easy (and very important) to keep detailed records of expenses for your family member who are approaching the sunset years of their lives. Whether it be assisting with grocery shopping, or providing a home for your aging loved ones, documentation of costs and reimbursements must be maintained in order to pass a possible later Medicaid inspection.
While many of us generously and willingly give this support, the Medicaid penalty and look-back period for skilled nursing facilities is five years! That means that Medicaid can look at the last five years, and based on whatever proof you might have, make a decision as to what might be a gift and what might be a reimbursement for a loan (see the article below).
As part of any Medicaid plan, we constantly encourage our clients to develop a financial recording strategy that works best for them, as long as it clear and consistent. For example, we recommend using a computer spreadsheet program. This allows you to keep everything neat and organized, and it will even do the math for you! But remember to keep all receipts and bank records.
If you don’t prefer a computer, another great alternative is a black and white composition notebook. This keeps everything at your fingerprints, and you can’t rip the pages out (plus you can staple receipts and other documents as needed).
Whether you have a good system in place, or you just realized you might be running into a problem, the Stefans Law Group, P.C. is ready to help you with all aspects of Elder Care and Medicaid Planning. Give us a call at (516) 692 – 2744 to make an appointment with our Elder Law attorney and Geriatric Case Manager.
In the meantime, read below to see what happens when one family failed to keep the proper documentation.
Medicaid Applicant’s Son Failed to Prove Father’s Gift Was Reimbursement
A New York appeals court holds that a Medicaid applicant’s son did not prove that his father who transferred money to him before entering a nursing home was reimbursing him for expenses or had a history of giving, so the father is subject to a penalty period. Donvito v. Shah (N.Y. Sup. Ct., App. Div., 4th Dept., No. 663, 12-02248, July 19, 2013).
Nicholas Donvito gave $54,162.05 to his son and his son’s family between June 2007 and August 2008. The last transfer was for $6,500 and took place one month after Mr. Donvito suffered a stroke. Mr. Donvito entered a nursing home in October 2008. Two years later he applied for Medicaid. The state imposed a seven-month penalty period due to the transfers.
Mr. Donvito’s son appealed the penalty period, arguing the last transfer was reimbursement for purchases he made on his father’s behalf. He also argued his father had a history of giving money and was not motivated by a desire to qualify for Medicaid. The hearing officer affirmed the state’s decision, and Mr. Donvito’s son appealed.
The New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, rules that the penalty period is valid. According to the court, Mr Donvito’s son did not offer any proof, such as receipts or credit card bills, that he purchased items for his father. In addition, the court finds that with respect to the other transfers, Mr. Donvito’s son did not establish that Mr. Donvito was not motivated, at least in part, by a desire to qualify for Medicaid.
For the full text of this decision, visit this link: