Can we protect my mother’s assets from Medicaid by having a family members live in her house and act as caretaker?


I heard from a neighbor but can’t confirm that Medicaid’s five year “look back” for assets that can be applied to nursing home expenses is cut back to two years if a family member lives in the house and acts as caretaker. If so, do they have to be living there for two years before the reduced look back takes effect? Or does it take effect right away? Thanks!


There are a few exceptions to the transfer penalties that are applied by Medicaid to applications. One such exception is a caretaker child exception. It extends down only to a child, no further. If that child resides in the home for 2 years prior to the applicant entering the nursing home AND provided care which delayed the entry of the applicant into the nursing home,then Medicaid will not apply the transfer penalty.  In Massachusetts, the current regulations read only that the entry is delayed, not that the care had to be for two years.  The house can only be deeded to the child. You need to consult with an elder law attorney to determine if you can qualify for the caretaker child exception or any other. Planning early is the key to Medicaid.

Legal Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on since each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. A lawyer experienced in the subject area and licensed to practice in the jurisdiction should be consulted for legal advice.


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The elder law attorneys  at the Beliveau Law Group provides legal services for estate and asset protection planning. The law firm has offices and attorneys in Naples, Florida; Waltham, Massachusetts; and Salem, New Hampshire.


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