The transfer of assets policy outlined here explains when the institutionalized spouse must transfer assets to the community spouse and applies ONLY to institutionalized individuals with a community spouse. If other transfers occur either by the institutionalized or community spouse, refer to 1040.000.00 Transfers of Property.
To continue vendor eligibility, assets in the name of the institutionalized spouse must be at or less than the resource maximum for a single person or the institutionalized spouse must declare intent to transfer assets out of his/her name within 90 days of the date vendor eligibility is established. If the assets in the name after the institutionalized spouse are greater than the appropriate resource maximum, the spousal share cannot be disregarded until the institutionalized spouse declares intent to transfer the assets out of his/her name.
The institutionalized spouse must declare in writing intent to actually transfer the assets to the community spouse before the vendor application can be approved. Use the “Intent to Transfer Assets Agreement” (IM-79) form for this declaration. If the institutionalized spouse has assets that must be transferred to the community spouse, the vendor application cannot be approved until the IM-79 is signed. Complete the IM-79 at the time of the vendor application.
Once the intent to transfer assets is declared, the institutionalized spouse has 90 days from the date initial vendor eligibility is determined to actually transfer the assets. This 90 days is called a ‘protected period’.
NOTE: Exercise judgment when applying the 90-day rule. Delays for sale of property, intervention of the courts, or a pending hearing decision are some legitimate reasons for not meeting the 90-day time frame. Should these types of situations occur, clear them through normal supervisory channels.
Set priorities for 90 days from the date initial eligibility was established; however, the caseworker and claimant need to discuss the progress of the transfer of assets prior to the expiration of the 90 days.
Do not delay approving the application until after the transfer of assets is completed. If the intended transfer of assets will result in eligibility for the institutionalized spouse, approve the application after the Intent to Transfer Assets Agreement (IM-79) is signed.
When initial vendor eligibility is established, notify the institutionalized spouse of the requirement to transfer assets by sending the Notification of Requirement to Transfer Assets (IM-79A) form. The notification should identify the non-exempt assets and explain to the claimant the assets must be transferred within 90 days to continue vendor eligibility.
To transfer assets, the couple is required to set up separate bank accounts, change ownership on titles and deeds, liquidate property, and so on. It is important that after the division of assets each spouse’s share is clearly designated and separately identifiable, (i.e., his assets in his name, her assets in her name). Jointly owned assets are considered available to the institutionalized spouse.
Ask the couple to provide verification of the transfer. Contact the bank, insurance company, etc. if additional verification is necessary. It MUST be established that the institutionalized spouse transferred the assets according to the Required Transfer of Assets policy AND that the assets remaining in the name of the institutionalized spouse are at or below the resource maximum for a single person.
If the couple does not take action to have the assets transferred in 90 days (without good cause), consider ALL the non-exempt assets in the institutionalized spouse’s name including jointly owned assets as available to the institutionalized spouse. If these assets are above the resource maximum for a single person, begin case closing procedures based on an excess of available resources. No Medicaid claim is necessary for the initial eligibility period (time from the date of application to the initial approval for vendor) and the 90-day protected period.