Elder Care Law: The Medicaid Eligibility “Look-Back Period”

Before anyone can enroll in Medicaid, the government conducts a financial eligibility check. Primarily, they’re looking to ensure that applicants have exhausted all available funds.

What many families don’t realize, however, is that the government examines five years’ worth of financial records. So let’s say your 80-year-old father applies for Medicaid in November 2018. Before approving, government agents will look at all his financial dealings between November 2013 and November 2018. If your dad gave away sums that exceeded allowable gifting amounts or sold assets under market value during that time, he’d be penalized and barred from receiving Medicaid benefits for a calculated amount of time. In extreme cases, people render themselves ineligible for years by failing to document appropriately or establish estate-friendly financial plans.


If you want family members to inherit your money, map out gifting plans years in advance. Many people assume that establishing an irrevocable trust is the answer, but in some instances doing so can be disastrous.

Consult with elder care lawyers. They can review the situation and map out an ideal financial plan tailored to your family.

Many middle-class families apply for and receive Medicaid for elderly parents. The key is planning. Get in touch today. Let’s get you squared away.