With regard to your post:
"My 92 yr old mother moved to my home in Florida (from Alabama) last October. ------OK. Mine came here 4 years ago.
"The state of AL has been paying her Part B payment under a QMB program, which has now been cut off. ----- Because of her move/change of residence to FL, presumably.
"Her only income is her SS payment (a little over $800 per month), ------- separate issue, but on whose work record is she getting this SS payment? Is it her own? Is she a widow?
"and will now be less as she will have to pay the $104 per month for Part B coverage. --------- Yes, unless she can get FL to pay it.
"We applied for medicaid assistance with prescriptions through Access Florida and were denied because of too many assets. She owns her home in Alabama (which I thought did not enter into the assets)--------- If it is not her residence, that is a wonderful investment property she can sell, rent out, have income, etc. Sounds like she doesn't "need" the welfare anymore, given this wealth she now has but doesn't live in. Real estate is not counted if it is our lived in home. Once we move, we no longer need it to put a roof over our heads, so it is not counted the same.
", has an annuity for a little over $20,000, ------ She get's $20k/year from the annuity? She definitely won't get the welfare, if that is so. Remember, welfare is needs based.
"a small life ins policy, and around $10,000 in ck'g and savings. --------- Same idea as above. Although some states, in an effort to expand the medicaid base, have agreed to the federal push for medicaid expansion, by doing away with consideration of wealth, and only requiring low/no income/work, etc. in order to receive payment from taxpayers to welfare benefits. But generally for LT care, there are limits that vary state to state.
"She has been holding onto the annuity for the possibility that she may need some nursing home care before she dies --------- Well, typically, Medicaid WILL pay for nursing home but only if she doesn't have that wealth....
"and the funds in ck'g and savings to pay for her funeral. Is it immoral or illegal to convey some of these assets so she can qualify for medical assistance? --------- There is a look back period for transferring assets for less than FMV that could have been used to support one's own needs, to others to escape paying for oneself. It can be up to 5 years. A FL medicaid specialist will be who you want to meet with to discuss the current limits in FL.
For instance, can she at this time convey her home to her 3 children, reserving a life estate (my brother's health and inability to work necessitates his moving into her house within the next couple of months)? --------- Free country, so she can do it, but she may then be ineligible for nursing home care financial support.
"If so, should she need long term care later on, can SS come back within a certain number of years,--------- YES.
"and make the children give back the value of mother's home? ------- They won't take the children's property, but the mom may lose the eligibility to have nursing home care provided.
"Also, should she go ahead and use her on hand cash in ck'g and savings to prepay for her funeral and grave site and headstone, etc.? ------- States typically have a limit on how much pre-paid will not be counted. So that is another thing you will wish to discuss with your local Medicaid specialist. She can spend it down, but some purchases are "counted" as resources to prevent people from buying $100k funeral plans at the expense of the taxpayers.
"Should the funds from the annuity go into a long term insurance plan? Or will all of these steps be considered hiding of assets in order to qualify for assistance with Part B? ------- Buying things is not necessarily "hiding" money or assets. But, you need to discuss with the medicaid specialist what the current limits are and 'uncounted' assets/resources so that she HAS LT nursing home coverage should she need it prospectively.
While you are at it, consider looking into a special needs trust that meets the Medicaid requirements in her new state. If the goal is to save the assets so the kids can have them, when mom then needs the welfare, this may not work, and this asset planning may be too late. BUT, may not! if she is healthy and may live longer than 5 more years (my two grandmothers lived to 95 and 98 respectively!), the look back period may have well passed by the time she is in need of LT care. And $10k in savings? Maybe she can enjoy life a bit, take trips, use it for enjoyment in these last years, by a good TV, etc.
Bot***** *****ne, however, is that each aspect is very fact specific and quite complicated in terms of figuring out how best to protect her assets if the plan is for her to both have LT care should she need it AND preserving assets for the kids. You want to bring all details to a lawyer in FL that prepares Medicaid Trusts, in addition to regular estate planning, so both aspects can be balanced to your mom's satisfaction, as much as possible at this late date in her life. I hope she is alive and well for several more to come, and if so, there are things you can do now, but you need to get those trust(s) drafted.
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