What is the Medicaid “look back


When you apply for Medicaid for long-term care in either a nursing home or in the community, you are required to provide financial records for the past five years.  This is called the "look back" period.

Before being approved for Medicaid, the Connecticut Department of Social Services (they manage Medicaid) asks you to show five years of financial statements for all accounts including checking, savings, money market, stocks, bonds, CDs, retirement accounts, annuities, trusts, cash value in life insurance policies, and others.

Why?

Because the State of Connecticut doesn’t want you to simply give away all of your assets and say “Look at me, Medicaid! I’m broke and need your assistance.”

The general rule of thumb is, you can spend your money on your own care and comfort, but you can't give it away to qualify for Medicaid.

For example, using your money to purchase a more reliable car, prepaying funeral expenses, or for home repairs would be considered acceptable.

But, if you transferred ownership of your home to your child within the past five years, that would disqualify you from being eligible for Medicaid for a certain period of time or "penalty period."

Medicaid is designed to pay for long-term care once you run out of money. You are expected to use your savings to pay for your care. Once your savings are gone, then Medicaid will kick in.

However, you can protect some of your money by gifting to loved ones, but understand that Medicaid will penalize you for any gifts or transfers of assets made 5 years from the date of your Medicaid application.

To learn about what strategies may be available to you to protect your assets, contact us to learn more about your options.

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