One way to hasten your mother’s eligibility for Medicaid is to spend-down her countable resources. Here are some things you can spend your mother’s assets on to help her qualify:
- Dream Vacation. Many people live their whole lives without seeing the world. Maybe your mother has always wanted to visit Alaska. If your mother has a dream vacation in mind, try to convince her to go. This may be her last opportunity.
- Purchase of Needed Services. As an attorney, this is my favorite strategy. Your mother can use her money to pay for the services that she needs. This includes attorney's fees, medical needs, and dental care.
- Equipment Needed. A nursing home can be a difficult place to live, at times. While she was in a nursing home, when my aunt experienced downtimes, the family purchased her items like coloring books to keep her entertained. Your mother may also want to purchase items for entertainment, such as a TV or iPad.
- Pay Debts. For some people, paying off their debts constitutes a moral or religious obligation. Please make sure your mother understands that this is her last opportunity to pay her debts.
- Purchase Exempt Resources with Countable Resources. Your mother can purchase exempt resources to reduce her countable resources. None of these assets contribute to her total allowable resources:
- A personal residence to which your mother intends to return, up to a maximum equity value of $595,000;
- Repairs or improvements on her home;
- Paydown on a mortgage;
- One vehicle that she is able to use for transportation;
- Cash-value life insurance with a death benefit and cash value of $1,500 or less;
- Term life insurance with an unlimited death benefit. This is a tricky rule, so you need to talk to your attorney;
- Burial spaces. A "burial space" includes a gravesite, burial plot, crypt, mausoleum, casket, urn, and niche or another repository. Your mother can purchase them for herself, her spouse, her children, her siblings, and her parents;
- Certain trade or business property and other property essential to self-support (not including liquid resources, except cash used in a trade or business);
- Burial funds with a maximum value of $1,500 or a prepaid, irrevocable funeral contract for the applicant, with no limit as to value;
- Household goods and personal effects, including medical equipment, if they are not for investment purposes. No gold coins or jewelry;
- Prepayments to the nursing home. If your mother is pending for Medicaid, she or her family member can pay out-of-pocket, which will be reimbursed when she is approved.