Do Charitable Contributions Violate Medicaid Look Back

Last updated: May 19, 2024
Medicaid Long Term Care | Questions and AnswersCategory: Look Back PeriodDo Charitable Contributions Violate Medicaid Look Back
Visitor asked 5 years ago

Are charitable contributions taken into consideration for 5 year look back? What if a person gives to a charity on a regular basis? What about a one time gift?

1 Answers
medicaidplanner Staff answered 5 years ago

Yes, charitable contributions are considered when it comes to Medicaid’s 5-year Look-Back Period. In fact, all financial transactions, no matter how small, that have been made within 5-years immediately preceding the date of one’s long-term care Medicaid application are scrutinized. This is done to ensure no assets were given away to meet Medicaid’s asset limit. If this has been done, there will be a Penalty Period of Medicaid ineligibility.

Medicaid does not extend an exception to the Look-Back Period for charitable contributions. It is assumed any “gifting” is done with the intention to “spend down” assets to meet the asset limit. Giving to charity during this period can result in a denial of Medicaid benefits. While charitable donations are sometimes exempted (not counted), the Medicaid applicant must prove that the gift was for another purpose other than qualifying for Medicaid. It is very rare that a large, one-time donation would be exempted. On the other hand, if the individual gives to charity on a regular basis, this is more likely to be exempted, particularly if there is a long history of giving to the charity.

An important note: The transfer of assets are not treated consistently across the states. One should not give to charities with the expectation that donations will be exempt from Medicaid’s Look-Back Rule. If you are thinking about making a charitable contribution and plan to apply for Medicaid within 5 years, it is vital that you know how charitable donations are treated in the state in which you reside. If you have already been making donations to charity and wish to apply for Medicaid, it is also important to be aware of how donations are treated in your state. It is recommended to contact your state Medicaid office or contact a professional Medicaid Planner.

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