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Illinois senior citizens may soon be punished by the State of  Illinois when they announce new Medicaid eligibility rules for nursing home (NH) and Supportive Living Facility (SLF) benefits. The goal is to save the state big money by creating new ways to deny fragile senior citizens assistive living or nursing home help. The state wants to impose harsh penalty periods of ineligibility for NH and SLF services for any Illinois senior has given away money or assets during the five years (60 months) prior to a Medicaid application.  Can you imagine being punished for helping your children and grandchildren? Due to recent unemployment in the younger generations, Illinois seniors have paid loved ones’ medical bills, mortgage payments, tuition, and grocery bills.  Illinois Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) is about to implement rules which will punish seniors whose only “crime” is helping those they love. The current Illinois Medicaid eligibility rules are fair and include a  “forgiveness factor.”  Seniors who give away money or other assets create an immediate Medicaid penalty period of eligibility. When  a senior is still healthy and/or wealthy enough to cover their own healthcare expenses the ‘penalty’ quickly goes away.  For example, if a senior gives away $10,000 to a loved one, within about three months the senior is “forgiven” for that gift.    BUT— The new rules have no forgiveness factor. They will impose penalty periods of  ineligibility that will hang over a senior’s head for five years.  If you apply for Medicaid within five years after a gift, you will be punished with non-payment of Medicaid nursing home costs. This will happen even when the senior is ill and impoverished.  Both the senior and the long term care industry will be denied payments.  Can you predict what your health will be in five years? Illinois must provide law-abiding seniors with fairness and a Medicaid forgiveness factor! Illinois elder law attorneys have organized a DRA Task Force for Senior Fairness.  Ask Governor Pat Quinn and HFS Director Julie Hamos to be fair to Illinois’ frail senior citizens and long term care providers.  Contact Jessica Bannister at jessica@lawelderlaw.com to become involved!