If you apply for Medicaid benefits to pay for long-term care in a nursing home, assisted living or at home, you have to be prepared for the grueling 5-year look-back, a process that can leave you in a quagmire as you search for answers to the most minute questions about the personal financial lifestyle of your household or the applicant you’re assisting. Medicaid is now being referred to in New Jersey as New Jersey Family Care Long Term Services and Supports (MLTSS). The look-back hasn’t changed.
It’s not just long-term care Medicaid which has a look-back, though.
Applications for SSI (federal Supplemental Security Income for disabled individuals) have a three-year lookback.
IRS audits can go back 7 years.
The NJ Veterans Memorial Home has a 3-year lookback.
Mortgage lenders can require a 2 year look-back before they’ll approve your loan.
Applicants for DDD services must be Medicaid-eligible. Their applications are processed by ISS (Institutional Services Section of DMAHS) and require the 5-year look-back.
In previous posts I’ve provided suggestions on how to prepare for this daunting task. . Every cancelled check can be examined. Explanations of old credit card transactions may be demanded, no matter how small they appear to be. The agencies are looking to see whether assets were given away or were spent on goods & services for the applicant, or if assets have shown up from outside sources. I suggest that you save your records for seven years. Sign up to receive the cancelled checks with your bank statements. Attach paid bills and receipts to bank statements. Try to make most of your transactions through a check, debit card, credit card or documented wire transfer. If money is transferred from one account to another, write some notes to explain it and keep those notes with the bank statement. Believe me, it is very hard to remember every transaction 2, 3 or 4-1/2 years after it occurred. Of course, if you pay for major things in cash, keep some sort of verification of the purchase.
For legal assistance and advice on your eligibility for Medicaid and other programs, call us at 732-282-6070