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What’s The Medicaid Look Back Period?

Before you go selling, cashing, or moving around your assets, you need to find out what are the Medicaid rules for your state. The policies on what is an “acceptable” type of transfer can be very strict. In Florida, for example, Medicaid defines an unacceptable or “penalized transfer” as a situation in which a person, their spouse, or a legally authorized representative does not receive anything in return when selling or giving away an asset.

When you submit your application a case worker or “Eligibility Specialist” will refer to the “Transfer Look-Back Period” to review ANY and ALL asset transfers that have occurred. For example they will look for any large sums of money from an applicants checking account to another account. If the Eligibility Specialist sees such a transfer, they will then ask for more documentation to support why this occurred. If the Medicaid applicant can’t provide a valid reason (within the Medicaid policies for the state they live in) then a Penalty Period will be placed on the applicant before they would be able to receive any Medicaid benefits.

Look Back Period:

60 months before application submitted

Penalized Transfers:

Any asset or income that was “given away, sold, or ownership interest decreased” for less than its market value.

If you make a transfer that breaks the rules set by the Department of Children and Families (DCF), you may be labeled “ineligible for benefits” for some time.

If you are ineligible for benefits this could mean you would be paying out of pocket for services such as nursing home care until the bad transfer is “paid off”. Here’s an example. If the average nursing home in Florida is $9,171.00 A MONTH= you will have to pay this instead of $1000 a month or less based on your SSA retirement check.

While it may only take a second to make a transfer, the consequences could last even longer. If you are curious about your potential Medicaid eligibility contact us.

*The above information is intended for informative purposes only and is not legal advice.