While people can “gift” up to $14,000 each to anyone they want to each year without tax penalty, that tactic is not going to fly if it is being done to “spend down” in order to get Medicaid to pay for nursing home care.
If a person is “gifting” money to family or friends in order to spend down to reach the resource limit for Medicaid nursing home coverage, it better be done five years ahead of time, according to an article in the New York Daily News.
Gifts made within five years of applying are likely to disqualify the gift giver from obtaining coverage for a period of time based on how much was given. The larger the gifts, the longer the wait.
Medicaid will presume the gifts were made to get around the criteria for coverage.
The penalty period is likely to be in place even if the gifts were put into a trust.
Because Medicaid planning and the use of trusts is complex, the article suggests consulting with a qualified estate planning or elder law attorney.