How Soon Before My Mom Runs Out of Money Should She Apply for Medicaid?
Q: My 96-year-old mother was just told by her doctor that she can no longer live by herself and has to move to a nursing home. She has approximately $58,000 in savings and checking accounts. If she is admitted to a nursing home next week, when does she apply for Medicaid? As soon as she is admitted or after she spends down her money?
A: Your mother should apply a few months before she will run out of funds. In calculating when that will be, include in the cost of prepaying her funeral if that has not been done yet. In some states, she can also set aside funds for future needs in a (d)(4)( C) or “pooled” trust. A local elder law attorney can advise you on whether that’s possible in your state and whether there are other planning opportunities available. The attorney’s fees can be part of your mother’s spend down of money that would otherwise be paid to the nursing home. As a result, there’s really no cost to such a consult and potentially significant savings. Have that consultation sooner rather than later, since some planning opportunities may disappear as funds are paid to the nursing home.
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