Giving May Be Hazardous To Your Health…Care!

It is no secret that senior citizens are the wealthiest segment of the U.S. population. Much has been written and said about the trillions of dollars that will ‘change generational hands’ as the current seniors pass their wealth to their children/grandchildren. Unfortunately, seniors have to contend with a dirty little secret that was put in place by the current Republican administration when they passed the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA).

The DRA made changes in the way that the government will punish seniors for acts of both charity and giving. The Medicaid rules presume when a senior makes a charitable or family gift, that the gift was an attempt to get rid of excess assets in order to qualify for Medicaid nursing home expenses. That’s right—seniors are guilty until proven innocent. The burden of proof is on the seniors to show that when they gave money to their church or child, that they had some other reason than to qualify for Medicaid.

This DRA rule creates a cruel penalty of ineligibility for Medicaid services if and when a senior who gave away money needs nursing home services at any time within 5 years after the gift. Our government has created a punishment for seniors who may suffer chronic long-term illness within 5 years after a gift.

As long as this law is in place, seniors must remember that the IRS gift tax rule allowing gifting up to $13,000 tax-free is only a tax rule. Giving away $13,000 may cause a senior to suffer a loss in nursing home coverage of 2 to 3 months if they need such assistance within 60 months after giving that money away. Thanks to our government, giving may now be hazardous to your health…care!

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