In Georgia, the Georgia Department of Community Health operates a program where the State of Georgia gets reimbursed from the estate of deceased Medicaid members who received Medicaid benefits for long term care such as nursing home care or community care services.  When a Medicaid member accepts Medicaid benefits, a debt is established against the beneficiary and their estate. While no reimbursements are due during the lifetime of the Medicaid member, attempts will be made to collect the cost of services from the estate of the deceased Medicaid member.

A few exceptions or special rules include the following:

  • the person o Medicaid must have passed away AND their husband or wife must be deceased;
  • the person on Medicaid must not have any dependent children under 21 years of age;
  • the person on Medicaid must not have any dependent children with a disability;
  • the person on Medicaid must have property or cash worth more than $25,000; and
  • collection can also be delayed and/or waived if the family of the person on Medicaid can show that collection would cause an undue hardship.

With the current economy, many families are having to rely on Medicaid benefits to provide long term care for their loved ones. While this is not necessary a bad thing, it is important for families to consider the long term consequences especially if the person on Medicaid has substantial assets.

Before you run to the courthouse and try to transfer the residence for a person on Medicaid out of their name, I suggest you consult with an experienced attorney who is familiar with the issues related to Medicaid. The law has severe penalties for people who simply give away their assets to create Medicaid eligibility. There is a look back period of five years. In Georgia, for example, every $5,000.00 given away during the look back period prior to a Medicaid application creates approximately one month of ineligibility.

If you or loved one needs to discuss the possible consequences of accepting Medicaid benefits for long term care and/or to plan for that possibility in the future , the estate planning lawyers at Durden & Mills, PC can assist you. Call us at (706) 543-4708 for a free consultation.

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