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Who should get Mom's social security check?

My mother was admitted into a nursing home under Medicare Rehabilitation that will last for 100 days, she is also on Medicaid, my question is she has nowhere for her SS check to go, so can she keep the money from her SS check or would it have to be reported to Medicaid? My sister has put her SS checks into her own account and thinks that Medicaid will not find out! This happened once already and she ended up with 3,000 in her own bank account. Is this legal?
Status: Open    May 30, 2015 - 12:29 AM

Medicare/Medicaid, Elder Law

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3 answers

Expert Answers

Jun 11, 2015 - 11:02 AM

Each state designates a Medicaid recipient’s level of savings that must be maintained. All other income goes to the state, to pay for the individual’s care and support. It may be that your mom’s SS income keeps her below the required savings level.

Each state has a means of monitoring the person’s income and savings. I have trouble believing that the state would not be aware that she was receiving the SS payment. I think it is risky trying to hide a payment. Her Medicaid case manager is the one who can explain regulations regarding your mother’s income. However, the case manager is not likely to share that information with anyone other than your mother or whoever has her legal power of attorney.

The 100 day Medicare coverage for rehab does vary. First of all, there needs to be a documented need for skilled nursing or therapy throughout the 100 days. The coverage for the 100 days does vary. The first 20 days are fully covered by Medicare, but after that, a co-payment is required. Since your mother is on Medicaid, they will cover the co-payment.

Sep 10, 2015 - 08:29 AM

If your mother has only Medicare and Medicaid, she will have a $157.50/day co-payment for her nursing home care starting on day 21. Since she is on Medicaid, her share of the cost will not exceed her monthly income, which includes her Social Security. Your mother cannot give your sister her Social Security without a transfer penalty from Medicaid.

Sep 16, 2015 - 09:32 AM

While your mother is receiving rehabilitation care, she may owe a portion of her income towards her care. If your mother enters full-time skilled nursing after her rehabilitation, she may have issues in receiving Medicaid assistance to pay for the skilled nursing care. You should consult with an expert in your state regarding its specific policies on this topic. The center where she is receiving rehabilitation services should let you know if your mother owes a Medicare co-pay. For additional information, the state division that administers her Medicaid program may have an information line, and there are likely many attorneys in your state who are knowledgeable about these rules, as well. You should always report truthful information on a Medicaid application to your state. Unless your sister has authorization to receive your mother’s Social Security check, your mother’s Social Security income may need to be returned to her and may need to be used to pay for her medical expenses. There could be consequences for the transfer of funds to your sister, and you may need to seek legal counsel to navigate these consequences. An elder law attorney in your state is likely familiar with the laws surrounding your situation.
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