My mom can no longer drive safely. If she gives me her car, will it impact her Medicaid eligibility?
Yes, it can impact your mom’s Medicaid eligibility, as Medicaid has a look-back period. This is a period of 60-months (30-months in California) that dates back from one’s Medicaid application date. During this timeframe, all past asset transfers are scrutinized. If it is found that a Medicaid applicant has gifted assets or sold them for less than they are worth, it is a violation of the look-back period. Violating this rule results in a penalty of Medicaid ineligibility. The amount of time that one is ineligible for Medicaid is based on the value of the assets that were gifted or sold for less than they are worth. This rule is in place to prevent applicants from giving away their assets in order to meet Medicaid’s asset limit.
Going back to your mom, let’s say she lives in Florida and applies for Medicaid in August of 2019. Medicaid will “look back” on all past asset transfers from August of 2019 through August of 2014. If during this timeframe, she has gifted you her car, it is a violation of the look-back rule. Therefore, she will be penalized with a period of Medicaid ineligibility. That said, if your mom were to give you her car prior to the look-back period (July of 2014 or earlier), it would not impact her Medicaid eligibility. This is because it would not violate the look-back period.