Having MassHealth pay for your care as you age can be an invaluable service. If you think you or a loved one may need MassHealth benefits in the future, there are some things you can do to in advance to meet the eligibility requirements. We’ve compiled the top three most common mistakes well-meaning individuals can make when preparing for MassHealth eligibility.
Three of the most common mistakes are:
1. Gifting up to $16,000 per year to family members or friends.
Your accountant may tell you that gifting this amount is allowed. This is true for tax purposes. It is not, however, true for MassHealth eligibility. This is because MassHealth has a five-year lookback period. They look at all your transactions of $1,000 or more over the past five years. If any money has been given away in the form of a gift, this can cause a delay in MassHealth eligibility at a nursing home.
2. Paying a caretaker under the table.
You may be paying this caretaker for a real and necessary service. However, if there is no Care Contract in place and the recipient is not paying taxes on the income, MassHealth may see these payments as a gift. This again can cause a delay in eligibility at a long-term care facility.
3. Transferring a car for less than fair market value.
As you age, you may reach a point when it’s no longer safe to drive. Often a grandparent will decide to transfer ownership of their car to a child or grandchild. If that child or grandchild does not pay fair market value for the car, this will also be considered a gift that can cause a period of ineligibility for MassHealth.
If you would like to learn about other common mistakes and how to avoid them, watch the full webinar on our YouTube channel.
Founded by a nurse attorney and with offices in Acton, Burlington, and Sudbury, Massachusetts, Generations Law Group helps families navigate the complex areas of estate planning and elder law to inform and protect loved ones of every generation.