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A Family Theft – Part 3

Last year I wrote about a family theft and its implications for Medicaid eligibility (Blog posts on 9/24/18 and 10/1/18). To summarize, we needed to apply for Medicaid for Sophie, who could no longer live at home but now needed nursing home care. She had lived with her sister Mary, who handled her finances for many years. When Mary herself needed care, brother Joe took over and discovered that Mary had helped herself to some of Sophie’s money.

In order for Medicaid to treat the transfers to Mary as theft and not voluntary transfers subject to a Medicaid penalty we needed Joe to file both a criminal complaint for theft as well as a civil complaint to recover the money taken which reached in excess of $200,000. The criminal complaint went nowhere. The police took the complaint but it wasn’t a priority for them. Joe never heard from them but that was OK since the we just needed to take the first step. The civil lawsuit, however, took a surprising twist.

When we filed for Medicaid, as I told Joe, the caseworker only was willing to accept our explanation with proof of the criminal and civil complaints. Because Mary moved in with her daughter out of state we never expected to collect anything. We figured she would ignore the civil complaint and we would get a default judgment against her. That was OK as far as Medicaid eligibility is concerned. Joe would make attempts to collect the judgment but, again, his success or lack thereof would not cause a problem in terms of Medicaid eligibility.

Next week I’ll share with you what actually happened.