Financial Exploitation of the Elderly: Impact on Medicaid Eligibility

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My paper on the impact which financial exploitation of an elderly person has on the elderu2019s eligibility for Medicaid benefits was published in the Journal of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (u201dNAELA Journalu201d). The NAELA Journal is a semiannual law journal containing substantive and scholarly articles by practicing members, professors, and other elder law professionals. The NAELA Journal covers elder law and special needs planning topics. The key question I explored in the paper was this: when a third party makes improper transfers of an elderu2019s property without the elderu2019s knowledge or consent, will those improper transfers negatively affect the elderu2019s eligibility for Medicaid? Is a timely question, I believe, since it is now a very common practice for an elderly or disabled person to entrust his or her finances to a third party, either by signing a power of attorney or simply u201chanding over the checkbooku201d to a relative or a trusted friend. These third parties, whether family members or outsiders, may financially exploit the elder, either through common theft by an outsider or the improper use of a power of attorney by a family member. As the elder population in the United States continues to increase dramatically, the financial exploitation of the elderly continues to be an increasingly serious problem. In the paper, I researched laws and cases across the country to examine how courts determined whether improper, unauthorized transfers negatively affected the elderu2019s eligibility for Medicaid and other necessary public benefits. I hope that readers find the my paper useful in understanding the issues involved in the financial exploitation of the elderly and disabled.

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Donald Vanarelli
Law Office of Donald D. Vanarelli

I have been a practicing attorney since 1983, admitted in NJ and NY. A graduate of Rutger's Law... View Profile »


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