It’s possible that a few years from now, you’ll need to help someone apply for Medicaid to pay for assisted living, nursing home or home care. These applications are daunting. You can’t apply until the non-exempt assets are down to $2,000 or $4,000 (plus a protected amount for a community spouse), but the biggest challenge is dealing with the “5-year lookback.” When we files these applications at the county Medicaid agency, you have to submit every account statement and possibly every cancelled check for every account that was owned during that 5-year period. You may have to justify every cash withdrawal or every credit card charge, to persuade the county board of social services that money wasn’t being given away. Obtaining all the missing records at the time of application can be costly and can really delay the application.
Do you read the bank statement, balance the checkbook and then throw out the statement to avoid accumulating paper clutter? You need to create a 5-year paper trail. Arrange for the bank to give you cancelled checks with the bank statements (it may cost a few dollars extra per month). On an ongoing basis, save your bank records for 5 years including closed accounts. Either create a paper filing system or scan them onto your computer hard drive. Similarly, save your credit card statements. Find the birth certificate, marriage or divorce papers, deed to the house, and spouse’s death certificate. Keep these papers together with the financial records.
Getting organized now can make it easier to obtain benefits when you need them.
Next … we’ll discuss cash transactions, Medicaid and intergenerational family households — click here to read Part II of this post.
Call us for help with a Medicaid application … 732-382-6070