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Dear advocate…
Share of Cost Payments


Dear Advocate,

I am the agent named in my mother’s power of attorney. When she entered the nursing home this year, she got on Medi-Cal. It’s been five months now, and the nursing home hasn’t billed us for anything yet. Aren’t we supposed to pay a share of cost? I’m starting to get worried.

Sincerely,
Puzzled in Pismo Beach

Dear Puzzled,

Nip this in the bud! If your mother has monthly income, she probably does owe an unpaid share of cost for the past five months.

If your mother gets Social Security or other income, don’t let it accumulate in her account, which potentially jeopardizes her Medi-Cal eligibility. And don’t take that money and use it for other things (unless it’s for legal deductions authorized by Medi-Cal, such as home upkeep and repairs—see above). As her agent under a power of attorney, you are legally responsible for ensuring that her monthly share of cost is paid to the nursing home. Willful shirking of this duty can be a misdemeanor. Fortunately, as her agent, you do not assume personal liability for her debts.

Contact your mother’s Medi-Cal eligibility worker (the number should be on the notice of action) and the nursing home immediately to ascertain the exact amount of the share of cost and work out a payment plan.