Warning: Medicaid is Not A Do-it-Yourself Project

Your loved one with Alzheimer’s will likely one day need nursing home care,and in order to make that possible, many families need to rely on Medicaid to help pay the bills.  Just remember, Medicaid is not a Do-It-Yourself (DIY). A simple mistake could cost you everything.

Medicaid is a complicated process, with its own set of definitions for seemingly self-explanatory words. Self-help Medicaid planning is a mistake that can result in the loss of thousands - even tens of thousands of dollars.

Let me tell you a story of a professional accountant. He’s trained in something that seems similar to Medicaid - the area of income tax, gift tax, estate tax, and governmental audits of finances.

This highly skilled individual, whose mother with Alzheimer’s needed Medicaid benefits, read and analyzed the written regulations of Medicaid in his state and used his understanding of tax law to interpret the facts.

He then took some actions to save BIG money. He transferred $500,000 to an irrevocable trust. Then he began paying for his mother’s care through what he thought was the Medicaid waiting period. Finally, he filled out a Medicaid application and submitted it. While he was filling out the application, he checked an innocent little box which asked a seemingly obvious question: “Do you wish to apply for ALL Medicaid benefits to which you are entitled?” He answered “yes” - but as it turned out, that was the wrong answer.

“Yes” seemed like the right answer in this case. After all, why wouldn’t you apply for all the benefits available to you? Because of his mother’s specific set of circumstances, unfortunately, the Medicaid application was not submitted at the right time. So the Medicaid department was then able to count the $500,000 transfer as a gift, and they composed a penalty period of ineligibility of more than 100 months, over 8 years! A “little” error is easy to make by anyone who does not work in the area of Medicaid.

This is why I urge you to go to a qualified Elder Law attorney. Choose someone who practices in the area of Medicaid and longevity planning on a daily basis. The story above is a perfect illustration that when it comes to Medicaid, words may not mean what you think they mean.

For example, the words ‘gross income’ have completely different definitions in tax laws, public benefits, federal income tax, Social Security Disability Insurance, state income tax, Veteran’s benefits, and Supplemental Security Income. If a simple word like “income” does not mean the same thing in different areas of laws and regulations, how can anyone who is unfamiliar with Medicaid provide someone with trustworthy guidance?

Don’t trust your life savings, or the health of your dear loved one, to someone who doesn’t know the ins-and-outs of Medicaid law. Our firm is an experienced and trustworthy guide in the area of Medicaid. We are dedicated to helping our clients live with dignity, instead of living on just a dollar or two a day. Let us help you. Call our offices at 800-939-9093.

To find out who is Fluent in Elder Law, and what questions you need to ask to make sure they are a trustworthy guide, visit to read up on the subject… it will help you make the best decision.  You can also go to

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