• Raphan Law: Blog

Proving That a Transfer Was Not Made in Order to Qualify for Medicaid

Updated: Oct 22, 2019

Medicaid law imposes a penalty period if you transferred assets within five years of applying, but what if the transfers had nothing to do with Medicaid? It is difficult to do, but if you can prove you made the transfers for a purpose other than to qualify for Medicaid, you can avoid a penalty.

You are not supposed to move into a nursing home on Monday, give all your money away on Tuesday, and qualify for Medicaid on Wednesday. So the government looks back five years for any asset transfers, and levies a penalty on people who transferred assets without receiving fair value in return. This penalty is a period of time during which the person transferring the assets will be ineligible for Medicaid. The penalty period is determined by dividing the amount transferred by what Medicaid determines to be the average private pay cost of a nursing home in your state.


The penalty period can seem very unfair to someone who made gifts without thinking about the potential for needing Medicaid. For example, what if you made a gift to your daughter to help her through a hard time? If you unexpectedly fall ill and need Medicaid to pay for long-term care, the state will likely impose a penalty period based on the transfer to your daughter.

To avoid a penalty period, you will need to prove that you made the transfer for a reason other than qualifying for Medicaid.

The burden of proof is on the Medicaid applicant and it can be difficult to prove.

The following evidence can be used to prove the transfer was not for Medicaid planning purposes:

  1. The Medicaid applicant was in good health at the time of the transfer. It is important to show that the applicant did not anticipate needing long-term care at the time of the gift.

  2. The applicant has a pattern of giving. For example, the applicant has a history of helping his or her children when they are in need or giving annual gifts to family or charity.

  3. The applicant had plenty of other assets at the time of the gift. An applicant giving away all of his or her money would be evidence that the applicant was anticipating the need for Medicaid.

  4. The transfer was made for estate planning purposes or on the advice of an accountant.

Proving that a transfer was made for a purpose other than to qualify for Medicaid is difficult. If you innocently made transfers in the past and are now applying for Medicaid, consult with your elder law attorney. Medicaid Planning without a qualified attorney can lead to costly mistakes. You can read more about common Medicaid Planning mistakes people make by clicking here.

Regards, Brian

MEMBER:

•National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys

•American Bar Association

•New York State Bar Association

•United States District Court New York Southern District • USDC NY Eastern District

•State of New York Unified Court System

•National Alliance of Trust & Estate Professionals

•Temple University • Cardozo Law School NY

•AARP Listed Attorney

The information on this site is not, nor is it intended to be legal advice and does not automatically create an attorney/client relationship.  On negligence and medical malpractice cases we may participate or partner with other counsel with disclosure to potential client before we or such partnering counsel accept the case.           © 2020 Brian A. Raphan, P.C.

RAPHAN LAW

7 Penn Plaza, 8th floor

(370 7th Avenue)

(7th Ave/31st St.)

New York, NY 10001

 

Tel: 212-268-8200

Fax: 212-244-3075
info@RaphanLaw.com

Twitter.com/NYCelderlawfirm

 

Elder Law News Blog