Elder law

Can a senior on long term Medi-Cal receive her pension and keep it?

My 70 aunt is in a nursing home and is on medi-cal (we live in California)

she suffered a traumatic brain injury at 57yrs. She no can get her pension but being on long term medi-cal what will happen? We did nothing 6 yrs ago when she should have started getting the pension now she will get a big payment and she cannot have more than $2k in her account. She has never been married or had children. My mother is her conservator. We don't want to be liable for any tax money or disqualify her from long term medi-cal. Any advice would be helpful Thank you

Nathan’s Answer

I am so sorry to hear about your aunt. Mild to moderate to severe traumatic brain injury is caused often by falls that rob an aging person of mobility and independence. Medi-Cal is ideal because it covers nursing home for longer than Medicare. However you've identified an interesting problem in that if she receives backpay or unpaid pension, this can affect her Medi-Cal eligibility. Since your mother is her court-appointed conservator, your mother has what are known as fiduciary duties (the highest in the land) to properly account for your aunt's finances and possibly health concerns as well. It behooves your mom to contact an elder law or health care lawyer immediately so the different outcomes can be discussed.

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