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Is There Ever an Easy Medicaid Application? Part 1

When I speak with people for the first time about the Medicaid application process – specifically about the 5 year look back and the amount of documentation required – they often tell me that in their case it should be easy.  “Mom never had much,” they’ll tell me.  But is that necessarily true?  Maybe yes, maybe no but we won’t know until we go through the Medicaid process.

A recent case in our office illustrates this point.  Jane was in a nursing home.  Her daughter called about getting Jane on Medicaid.  When I asked some questions about her finances, I was told that Jane only had 3 accounts over the past 5 years and it should be a very straight forward application.  We sent Jane’s daughter a checklist of the documents needed.  There was not much left to spend down so we filed the application within a couple of months when the remaining funds were spent.

That’s when the problems began.  We discovered money had been deposited into one of the accounts early in the 5 year look back time period.  I knew this was going to be a problem and sure enough, the Medicaid caseworker picked up on it as well and asked for the source of the deposit.  The daughter had no idea.  When she obtained  a copy of the check that had been deposited, we saw that it was a bank check from an entirely different bank than had previously been disclosed to us.  She said she had no previous knowledge that her mom had ever had any accounts at this bank. Now she had to track down what account that bank check came from and produce all statements showing activity.  Was there other money still there?  If not, was there other money that went into and out of that account in the last 5 years?  These questions would need to be answered and documented before we could get Medicaid approved.  Next week I’ll tell you what happened next.