by Mark A. Krohn, Partner
Jacobowitz & Gubits, LLP

In the event your spouse goes into a long-term care facility and thereafter qualifies for Medicaid, can you, as the spouse remaining at home, then transfer assets without triggering a loss of benefits by creating an ineligibility period for your spouse?

The Medicaid rules provide that any transfer made by a Medicaid applicant or spouse within the look-back period will create an ineligibility period. However, if Medicaid has been granted after both spouses have fully disclosed all of their resources and gifts made during the applicable “look-back” period, the law provides that the assets of the spouse-at-home are protected. This is the logical result since the Medicaid application process has already approved Medicaid, based upon a review of information submitted about both spouses. If the at-home spouse thereafter decides to make a transfer of at-home assets, he or she should be able to do so without having to worry about effecting Medicaid coverage for the spouse in the long-term care facility. Of course, such transfer will not protect the spouse at-home if he or she herself must move into a long-term care facility within thirty-six (36) months of having made such transfer. One should always seek the advice of an advisor who is familiar with the Medicaid rules.