Shields & Boris

Avoid Pitfalls of Medicaid

There are some important things to consider before applying for Medicaid for long term care. There is a look back period in which Medicaid will not only verify current assets, but all assets over the last 5 years.

Simply put, it is not considered acceptable for considerable assets to disappear without coming under intense scrutiny. An experienced elder-law attorney can be utilized to assist families and individuals in setting up trusts and legitimately spending down their assets in order to meet eligibility requirements. Medicaid also has an estate recovery clause that mandates for individuals age 55 or older, states are required to seek recovery of payments from the individual’s estate for nursing facility services, and those enrolled in a Home and Community Based Services Waiver Program. A Medicaid recipient’s assets from his/her home will not be recovered while a spouse is living there. In addition setting up a survivorship deed for a spouse can exclude a home from being recovered even after the surviving spouse has passed.

Since Medicaid is administered at the state level, eligibility criteria will vary depending on the state in which one lives. As a general rule, Medicaid recipients applying for long term care must meet the following criteria:

  • Limited income. Income eligibility criteria will vary from state to state (long term care Medicaid for your State may have a higher income allowance than straight Medicaid).
  • Limited assets. Most States limit assets to around $2,000, however an individual may own their home and a vehicle.
  • Functional eligibility. In order to be eligible for long term care benefits, applicants must meet a certain criteria. Generally speaking, they must demonstrate that their is a true need for day to day assistance, that renders them unable to remain independent on their own.

You can speak with an experienced Elder Law and Estate Planning Attorney by contacting Shields and Boris Law Firm at (800) 879-0984 for a FREE consultation.