Myths & Facts about Public Assistance with the Cost of Nursing Home Care in North Carolina

March 13, 2019

Penalty Box Dilemma 


Myth: I need to go into long term care (LTC).  I intend to apply for public assistance with the cost of care. If I give my grandchild money to buy a car, then use the rest of my money to private pay for my care, when my money runs out, I’ll be eligible for assistance.

Fact: The general rule is that the penalty period resulting from that gift (known as the “transfer penalty”) will not begin until you reduce your countable assets to $2,000. This is a particularly harsh rule, because during the course of the penalty period, you will not have the funds to private pay for your care and you will not be eligible for public assistance either, meaning someone else must pay for your care. Certain planning strategies can avoid this result. Exceptions may apply.

- Wyles Johnson, Board Certified Elder Law Specialist

The rules applicable to Medicare and Medicaid long-term care benefits are exceedingly complex. White & Allen, P.A. is proud to offer an attorney who is a Board-Certified Specialist in Elder Law and experienced staff to navigate and advise you, your family and friends on all your Elder Law issues. Please call us at (252)-527-8000 or email If you would like to request more information concerning rights of the elderly living in North Carolina and special programs for them, please contact us for a complimentary information booklet entitled "Senior Citizens Handbook” published by Project Grace (Young Lawyers Division and Elder & Special Needs Law Section of the North Carolina Bar Association).


It is never too early or too late to plan for your future.