By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold, NJ Medicaid Attorney
Here’s a disturbing case I recently read about. A 70+ year old couple, consistent with their established pattern, had approximately $42,000 of cash withdrawals during the five year lookback period for which they did not have receipts. The wife needed long term care and applied for nursing home Medicaid. Her county board of social services (the processor of all Medicaid applications in the county of applicant residence) imposed a penalty for the full $42,000.
Of course, the couple has a hard time understanding how paying for their customary living expenses can be considered transferring assets for the purpose of becoming Medicaid Eligible. Are there any effective suggestions on what to do?
One commentator suggested using commonly accepted statistical studies and publications including government reports, for example. There is a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) chart with food allowances for elderly adults, which has been accepted. Another suggestion was to get letters from vendors, if the customer is well known to them, verifying that “so and so” has been a longstanding customer for many years and frequently shops there. If there are no charges on credit cards for the categories of items purchased, and no checks, by inference, cash was paid. If there is a frequent shopper card (like for a grocery store), you can probably have the store produce receipt copies or a tally of purchases, amounts, and dates.
Unless there are returned checks/debit card line item expenses that indicate otherwise, you may be able to work backwards.
Also, if you have a good relationship with the bank, an affidavit from the bank tellers as to this pattern of practice helps. Better for mom and dad if each went to the bank alone or together and were well known to the employees.
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