Joint Bank Accounts Considered Gift by Medicaid?

Last updated: August 20, 2020
Medicaid Long Term Care | Questions and AnswersCategory: EligibilityJoint Bank Accounts Considered Gift by Medicaid?
medicaidplanner Staff asked 2 months ago

I was added to one of my mother’s bank accounts as a joint owner so that I could pay her bills if needed. Will this action be viewed as a ‘gift’ by Medicaid? The account is used exclusively to pay her bills and there is a good record of this activity.

1 Answers
medicaidplanner Staff answered 2 months ago

Unfortunately, there is a risk that the Medicaid agency might deem the addition of you as a joint owner of your mother’s bank account as a gift (a violation of Medicaid’s look back rule). Even so, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your mother will be penalized with a period of Medicaid disqualification if proper action is taken to prove that adding you to the account was not in fact a gift.

It is possible for a Medicaid agency to determine that the addition of your name to your mother’s bank account is a violation of the look back rule. To clarify, on the date that your name was added to the bank account, Medicaid could consider that half of the balance was a “gift” to you. This means your mother could risk a period of Medicaid disqualification. (As a side note, if your name was added prior to the look back period, there is no reason for concern).
However, it is possible to prove that the addition of your name was not a gift. In this case, providing a written statement with the purpose and intent of the addition of your name, as well as any supporting documentation of how funds have been used since your name was added, could avoid a violation of the look back period. For persons in this situation, it is highly suggested that a Medicaid planning professional be consulted for assistance. There are both free and fee-based planners that can be of assistance. Find the most affordable option for you here.

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