Does accepting donations from a GoFundMe campaign or other crowdfunding website Impact Medicaid Eligibility?
Yes, accepting donations from a GoFundMe account (campaign) can impact Medicaid eligibility. Via this and other fundraising / crowdfunding websites funds are raised via donations from numerous persons for various expenses, such as an upcoming surgery, necessary home and safety modifications, and hearing aids. Unfortunately, while raised funds may be needed and can be extremely helpful in many situations, accepting them may result in a senior losing their Medicaid eligibility. Please note that GoFundMe is not the only crowdfunding website, and that similar sites (Fundly, Bonfire, etc) can also impact Medicaid eligibility.
Remember, Medicaid has income and asset limits. Generally speaking, for long-term care Medicaid in 2019, the income limit is $2,313 / month and assets are limited to $2,000. (To see state specific income and asset limits, as well as assets that are not counted towards Medicaid’s limit, click here). Even after a senior has been approved for Medicaid, his / her assets must remain at $2,000 or less.
If a senior Medicaid recipient sets up a GoFundMe account for him / herself, or an adult child or other concerned party sets up an account and names the senior as the beneficiary (recipient of the funds), it is probable that the raised funds will count as assets. This, in turn, will likely result in the senior having “excess” assets, or stated differently, will cause the senior to have assets over $2,000. When this happens, the senior becomes ineligible for Medicaid. In order to become Medicaid eligible again, the assets over Medicaid’s limit must be “spent down”.
However, there may be one exception. If a senior spends the raised funds in the same month they are received, the funds should not count as assets. Rather, the funds will likely count as income. To be clear, only if there are remaining funds the following month should the funds count as assets. Regardless, it is important for a senior to report the extra funds to Medicaid and inform the agency how they were spent. Please note that the raised funds may put a senior over Medicaid’s income limit, resulting in Medicaid ineligibility for that month.
It is also important to mention that the Medicaid rules regarding crowdfunding are state specific. For example, in Wisconsin, funds withdrawn from a crowdfunding site are considered income in the month they are withdrawn, and any portion not spent is considered assets the following month. As another example, in Kansas, Medicaid does not count the funds if the person making the donation is not expecting something in return for his / her donation. When this is the case, any donation (gift) under $50 is not counted as an asset.