Medicaid Long Term Care: Exempt Transfers

Elder Law Attorney in Cary, NC

Generally speaking, gifts made by an individual for the purpose of becoming Medicaid-eligible in the five (5) years preceding their application for Medicaid will be penalized at a rate of one (1) month for every $6,400 in value gifted. However, that rule does not apply to all types of gifts. Under Medicaid regulations, there are several types of Exempt Transfers which will not be penalized if made by the applicant prior to applying.

Exempt Transfers

Exempt transfers essentially depend on who is receiving the gifted assets. Gifts made (a gift being a transfer of asset(s) for no value or less than fair market value) to the following individuals will be considered exempt and will not count against the individual applicant:

  1. A spouse (or to any individual on behalf of the spouse or for the spouse’s benefit);
  2. A blind or disabled child; and
  3. A trust for the benefit of a disabled child (also known as a Special Needs Trust);

Additional rules apply for the gifting of the primary residence. The following individuals may receive a gift of the primary residence without penalty:

  1. The applicant’s spouse;
  2. A child who is under the age of 21 or who is blind or disabled;
  3. A trust for the sole benefit of a disabled individual under the age of 65 (even if the individual is the Medicaid applicant, in some circumstances);
  4. A sibling who has lived in the home for a period of one (1) year prior to the applicant’s institutionalization, and who already owns equity in the home; and
  5. A caretaker child who has lived in the home for at least two (2) years prior to the applicant’s institutionalization and, during that period, provided care for the applicant such that the applicant was able to avoid skilled nursing care.

Giving away assets is not something that should be done lightly, and can have some very serious implications on Medicaid eligibility. Contact an experienced Medicaid Lawyer to help guide you through this process.