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My father’s statement from Medi-Cal says his share of cost is more than he makes each month. How can that be possible?

Dear Advocate:

My father lives in a nursing home and recently became eligible for MediCal. We received the statement from Medi-Cal and it says his share of cost is more than he makes each month. How can that be possible?

Sincerely, Short-changed in Shasta County

Dear Short-changed:

Share of Cost for Medi–Cal is calculated using your gross income – before taxes are withdrawn. This is why your father’s Share of Cost ends up being more than his net income, which is the actual income received every month. Rather than trying to change the Share of Cost, you need to increase your father’s net income so that you can pay his Medi–Cal Share of Cost. You can do this by stopping the withholding of taxes from his income. In order to do so, fill out Form W–4P (“Withholding Certificate for Pension or Annuity Payments,” https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw4p.pdf). To stop state taxes from being withheld, contact your father’s pension plan and request a “California State Income Tax Withholding Election Form.” Once these deductions are stopped, the problem with counting income that you don’t actually receive should be fixed. At the end of the year, most, if not all, of your father’s long term care expenses are deductible.