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

January 11, 2019

I can give away a certain amount of money in a year, right?


Myth: IRS Gift Tax Exemption: I need to go into long term care (LTC).  I intend to apply for public assistance with the cost of care. I can give each of my children up to $15,000 without triggering a penalty for assistance.

Fact: Many people confuse the annual federal tax-free gift exemption with the gifting rules applicable to eligibility for public assistance with the cost of LTC.  Those two rules are independent of each other. You can give away up to $15,000 (in 2018) to any number of people without having to report the gift(s) to the IRS, but any such gift will result in a penalty period during which you will be ineligible for public assistance with the cost of LTC and must private pay. 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 whom 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.