Some nursing homes offer residents and their families to prepare and submit a Medicaid application on their behalf. We have advised clients that this is not without risk. Only a licensed attorney is legally authorized to give legal advice. Typically, it is a social worker or Medicaid assistant who would complete the application for the resident.
I have had many a conversation with people who hold themselves out as knowledgeable in Medicaid rules, only to give wrong advice. Hiring an elder law attorney ensures that the applicant has someone representing their interest, not the interest of others.
A recent appeals case illustrates this point, at a great cost to a relative of the nursing home resident. Briefly, the son-in-law of a nursing home resident signed the Admission Agreement and obligated himself to provide information and cooperate with the nursing home with regard to the Medicaid application.
In that case, the Medicaid application was denied for failure to supply certain statements and for uncompensated transfers of assets of the applicant. The Appellant Division, Second Judicial Department, ruled that the nursing home can sue the son-in-law for the loss in Medicaid benefits. To read the case in full, click here.
The case is still pending, but the path has been cleared for the nursing home to pursue its lawsuit against the son-in-law for the $61,000 shortfall to the nursing home caused by the Medicaid denial.
The lesson is not only to carefully read the admission agreement before signing, but to recognize that the family member who may be making an honest effort to assist the nursing home resident, may find themself at the wrong end of an expensive lawsuit.