Read up on the year’s Top 10 Elder Law Decisions.
Below, you will discover, in chronological order, the top 10 elder law decisions for the previous year. The highlight decisions of the year was a ruling by a Pennsylvania appeals court that a son is liable for his mother’s nursing home bill under the state’s filial responsibility law.
1. State Can Recover from Spouse’s Annuity for Medicaid Benefits Paid After Spouse Died
A U.S. Court of Appeals holds that a state’s ability to recover Medicaid payments from a community spouse’s annuity after the community spouse dies is not limited to the amount of benefits the state had paid before the community spouse’s death (Hutcherson v. Arizona Health Care Cost Cont. Syst. Adm.).
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2. Community Spouse’s Promissory Note Is a Countable Resource
An Ohio appeals court rules that a promissory note held by a Medicaid applicant’s spouse is a countable resource, finding that the state law excluding promissory notes from countable resources applies only to promissory notes held by Medicaid applicants, not their spouses. Estate of Montgomery v. Ohio Dept. of Job and Family Services (Ohio Ct. App., 5th Dist., No. 11 CAH 06 0054, Feb. 14, 2012).
3. Discretionary Trust Is an Available Resource in Determining Medicaid Eligibility
An Ohio appeals court affirms the state’s denial of Medicaid benefits to a deceased nursing home resident’s estate, concluding that the resident’s irrevocable discretionary trust was an available asset for purposes of Medicaid eligibility. Gsellman v. Ohio Dept. of Job and Family Services (Ohio Ct. App., 9th Dist., No. 25954, April 11, 2012).
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4. Son Liable for Mother’s Nursing Home Bill Under Filial Responsibility Law
A Pennsylvania appeals court finds a son liable for his mother’s $93,000 nursing home bill under the state’s filial responsibility law. Health Care & Retirement Corporation of America v. Pittas (Pa. Super. Ct., No. 536 EDA 2011, May 7, 2012).
5. Annuity Purchases Are Transfers Subject to Penalty Period
A federal district court holds that Medicaid applicants whose spouses purchased annuities for themselves with community resources after the date of institutionalization were subject to a penalty period because the purchases constituted transfers above the community spouse resource allowance (CSRA). Hughes v. Colbert (N.D. Ohio, No 5:10CV1781, May 29, 2012).
6. 3rd Circuit Says PA’s Pooled Trust Age Limit and Other Restrictions Must Go
Ruling on a challenge to a Pennsylvania law, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals holds that those over age 65 may transfer assets into a pooled trust, although they may still be subject to a transfer-of-assets penalty. Lewis v. Alexander (3rd Cir., No. 11-3439, June 20, 2012).
7. Annuity Purchased Post-Initial Eligibility Determination Is Not Available Resource
Reversing a district court, a U.S. Court of Appeals holds that an annuity is an unavailable resource even if it is purchased in addition to the community spouse resource allowance, and that there is no transfer penalty for the couple’s purchase of the annuity prior to a determination of Medicaid eligibility. Morris v. Okla. Dept. of Human Services (10th Cir., No. 10-6241, July 9, 2012).
8. State Can Recover Assets Transferred Before Medicaid Recipient’s Death
Reversing a lower court decision, the Idaho Supreme Court holds that the state can recover assets from the estate of a Medicaid recipient’s spouse that were transferred to the spouse before the Medicaid recipient died. In Re Estate of Perry (Idaho, No. 38694, Aug. 9, 2012).
9. Second Circuit Affirms That Income Stream from Annuity Is Not an Asset for Medicaid Purposes
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upholds a district court ruling that Connecticut cannot treat the income stream from an annuity as an available asset for the purposes of Medicaid eligibility. Lopes v. Dept. of Social Services (2nd Cir., No. 10-3741-cv, Oct. 2, 2012).
10. Transfer of House from Trust to Husband Subjects Wife to Penalty Period
An Ohio appeals court rules that the transfer of a house from a revocable trust benefiting the husband to the husband’s name subjects his wife to a Medicaid penalty period. Williams v. Ohio Dept. of Job & Family Servs. (Ohio App. 3d, No. 8-11-18, Oct. 9, 2012).
Christopher J. Berry is a Michigan elder law attorney Dedicated to helping seniors, veterans and their families navigate the long-term care maze. To learn more visit http://www.michiganelderlawattorney.com/ or call 248.481.4000