Gifts to charity can affect your Medicaid application. Medicaid looks at all transfers made in the five years before you apply. If you transferred assets for less than fair market value, Medicaid can impose a penalty period—a time when you are ineligible for Medicaid benefits. There is no exception for charitable giving, but if you can show a pattern of charitable giving, you may be able to prove that the transfer to the charity was made for a reason other than to qualify for Medicaid. But states differ in the way they treat transfers. Before transferring any money, we strongly suggest you consult with an elder law attorney in your state to find out how your state Medicaid agency usually treats charitable giving. Here is a directory of attorneys: http://www.elderlawanswers.com/elder-law-attorneys.
For more information on Medicaid’s asset transfer rules, click here.