Mary Jane told me, “Mom has no money. She’s never had any money. But Medicaid still denied her application and now I owe the nursing home $40,000.” I knew there had to be more to her story. Sure enough, there was.
It’s a very common belief that, because Mom and Dad never had much money, the Medicaid application process should be a piece of cake. Maybe it should be but the reality is it just isn’t the case. Mary Jane’s dilemma was proof.
Mary Jane told me that she and her Mom had lived together her entire life. In fact, Mom and Dad transferred the home to Mary Jane. When I heard that, I immediately thought this could be her problem right there.
I asked how long ago the deed had been transferred. “ 10 years ago”, was Mary Jane’s reply. That was clearly outside the 5 year Medicaid look back period so could not have triggered a Medicaid transfer penalty. It had to be something else.
“Does Mom have any accounts with her name on it, that, in your mind, you don’t consider hers”, I asked. That’s when Mary Jane told me that she had a joint account with Mom but she insisted the money in that account was all hers, not Mom’s.
I learned that Mary Jane’s income is deposited into that account, from which she pays the bills. Mom’s income, she told me, goes into a separate account in Mom’s name, the only account Mary Jane considers to be owned by Mom. I explained to her that this was mostly likely the cause of her Medicaid denial.
Next week I’ll share with you why and what we could do to fix the problem.