The five year lookback for Medicaid is a much feared and misunderstood rule. Very simply, it means the State of Connecticut Department of Social Services is going to look back for a period of five years to see what you did with your assets. The State wants to determine if you made transfers of your assets to your family that could disqualify you from getting state homecare programs, or Medicaid.
As our parents age, we all know that at some point extra help may be needed to stay at home. That extra help may be from family, neighbors, or paid workers. There are issues of care, safety, socialization, nutrition, and medications to be addressed. There are Connecticut, federal, and VA programs potentially available to help. There are legal requirements and planning documents necessary to navigate the numerous rules and laws. It is a puzzle of interconnecting pieces, and is actually harder than that 1000 piece puzzle you struggled to put together as a child.
Last week I presented a seminar to attorneys at the annual meeting of the Connecticut Bar Association. The topic was Medicaid Planning for a Married Couple, and since it is fresh in my mind, it is a good time to again review those rules, as they can be confusing.
With Mother’s Day coming up this weekend, a trip to the card display was in order. As everyone knows, just any card won’t do for your mother. Not for the wonderful person who gave birth to you, nurtured you, fed you, cured the pain on your bruised shin, and overall gave you the unconditional love and warmth and feeling of security that let you grow and bloom into the adult you have become.
Every time someone applies for Medicaid (Title 19), the Connecticut Department of Social Services reviews all of that person’s assets, and if married, both spouses’ assets. It often comes as a surprise to people, but that includes examining life insurance policies. It can be an unwelcome surprise if the policy has to be cashed in, because many people plan on life insurance to pay for their funeral.
Not a week goes by without a husband or wife calling for information and advice because one of them needs significant care, including the possibility of nursing home placement. They are fearful and suffering great stress, because not only is it heart wrenching to see a spouse reduced to dependence on others, but there is a tremendous fear that they are going to lose their home.