What can we buy for mom so she stays eligible for Medicaid?

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Q. My mother is in a local nursing home receiving Medicaid benefits. Her personal cash account has grown to the point that the facility has urged us to spend $1,000 on clothing to avoid problems with Medicaid. It is a challenge to spend that much money for a 93-year-old’s wardrobe. Any suggestions?
— Trying to help

A. The nursing home was correct to warn you about possible problems with Medicaid.

A Medicaid recipient in a nursing home cannot have more than $2,000 of assets, said Shirley Whitenack, an estate planning attorney with Schenck, Price, Smith & King in Florham Park.

However, she said, nursing home residents are entitled to receive a monthly personal needs allowance of $50.

“The personal needs allowance can be used to purchase clothes, haircuts and hair styling, fingernail and toenail services, toiletries, reading materials and anything else that is for the sole benefit of the nursing home resident,” she said.

Of the money she has above that amount, consider purchasing a big-ticket item for the resident such as a television, radio or a laptop, Whitenack said.

Email your questions to moc.p1610799988leHye1610799988noMJN1610799988@ksA1610799988.

This story was originally published on Dec. 23, 2020

NJMoneyHelp.com presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.