For updated COVID-19 precautions and FAQs, please click here for more information.

Modern Estate Planning Blog

Elder Law & Special Needs Planning

Only 50% of a Joint Bank Account Will Be Considered for Medi-Cal Eligibility, Right? Wrong!

February 13, 2018

There are so many myths surrounding Medi-Cal eligibility! One of the most common myths is the belief that only 50% of the funds in a jointly-owned bank account will be considered as an asset for the purposes of calculating Medi-Cal eligibility. I can understand this confusion. After all, if you are sharing a bank account with your spouse (or child, or multiple children) you would assume that the money would be “split” among all listed on the account. But, this is almost always NOT the case when it comes to Medi-Cal eligibility.

Generally, when an applicant is the owner of a joint bank account, the full amount in the bank is presumed to belong to the applicant. It doesn’t matter how many other names are listed on the account, 100% of the balance is typically included when calculating the applicant’s eligibility.

The reason Medi-Cal makes this assumption is that often, jointly held bank accounts consist solely of funds contributed by the Medi-Cal applicant and the second person is added to the account so that they can help the applicant with administrative issues. If a joint owner can document that both parties have contributed funds and the account is truly “joint”, the state may value the account differently. Without clear and convincing evidence, however, the full balance of the joint bank account will be considered to belong to the applicant.

The rules concerning Medi-Cal eligibility are complicated. Every year, thousands of people are unnecessarily penalized or forced to pay out-of-pocket for care because they don’t know their rights or they make easily avoidable mistakes. Don’t let this happen to your family. Before you assume you can’t qualify for Medi-Cal, or make a mistake that can jeopardize your eligibility, talk with an experienced California elder law attorney. You can call our Folsom office at (916) 241-9661 to schedule a consultation.

Free Resources


I was absolutely without a clue as to how to begin or what I should do to establish an estate plan. I did know that I wanted someone I could trust, that was honest and I would have confidence in. I was referred to Heather by my friend who was being legally advised by Heather on another estate. She was very satisfied with her work and thought I might be happy with her service. At our consultation appointment, her presentation was very thorough. I had lots of questions, and she was easy to talk to and was able to guide me to just the kind of estate plan I needed. That was 10 years ago. Due to circumstances in my life, I have had to make changes to my plan, and I always go back to her for her legal services and guidance. I have recommended Heather before.

As Seen On