23 Jul HOW DOES MEDICAID REGARD JOINT OWNERSHIP OF BANK ACCOUNTS?
When families meet with our Elder Law Attorneys, they sometimes ask if The Department of Children & Families (DCF) will regard some of the funds in a joint bank account as belonging to the family member and not the Medicaid applicant. On the surface it seems to make sense, but logic does not always translate into law.
DCF’s position on joint bank accounts is that all funds in a joint bank account with the Medicaid applicant, who has unrestricted access to the funds, belong to the Medicaid applicant. (ESS Manual 1610.0302.01). This policy applies to checking accounts, savings accounts, certificate of deposit and other jointly owned financial accounts. This position by DCF can be challenged, if the joint owner on the account can prove that some or all of the funds were deposited by the joint account holder. Proving this challenge may be harder then it seems. The joint account holder needs to show some evidence that he or she deposited these funds. Pay stubs, cancelled checks or affidavits may be enough; but if the DCF Caseworker does not agree, a Fair Hearing may be required. At the Fair Hearing, evidence will again be required, and it is up to the Fair Hearing Officer (a DCF employee) to decide whether or not the evidence presented rebuts the presumption that all of the funds in the joint bank account belong to the applicant. If the Fair Hearing officer rules against the applicant, an appeal to the District Court of Appeals will be necessary. If a Fair Hearing or Appeal is required, it is strongly recommended that a Board Certified Elder Law Attorney is retained to represent the applicant in these matters.
If you are applying for Medicaid in Miami, and joint bank accounts or other jointly held assets are involved, call The Elder Law Center of Mondschein and Mondschein, P.A. for a free telephone consultation.