Antitransfer Laws

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Antitransfer laws, sometimes referred to as transfer of assets rules, penalize individuals who obtain eligibility for public benefits, such as Medicaid or SSI, by disposing of assets for less than fair market value. For example, Title XIX of the Social Security Act requires that state Medicaid plans make institutionalized individuals who transfer assets for less than fair market value temporarily ineligible for certain medical benefits. Under Title XVI of the Social Security Act, individuals who transfer assets for less than fair market value can also become temporarily ineligible for SSI benefits. 

Antitransfer laws generally prescribe a time frame, known as a look-back period, during which the transfer must have occurred. A person who transferred assets for less than fair market value can preserve their eligibility by showing that the transfer was exclusively for a purpose other than to qualify for benefits.

[Last updated in May of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]