My friend’s mother just had a stroke. Another (well-meaning) friend told her if she wanted to make sure she could get her mom into a nursing home soon and get it covered by Medicaid, she should have her mom sign her condo and car over to her (the daughter) and make sure she only had $2,000 in the bank.
My friend was reeling from this trauma and this “helpful advice” was, frankly, scaring her. Thankfully, we talked before she made any hasty decisions.
So, here’s the deal with Medicaid. From an elder law attorney. Who handles hundreds of cases like these every day.
If you’re in a nursing home or headed to one: if you’re spending down, you’re doing it wrong.
You do not have to spend-down in order to qualify for long-term care coverage through Medicaid. There is a $2,000 asset limit, but there are dozens of exclusions that allow you to keep more.
You can always keep one-half of your assets, maybe much more, possibly even all, and qualify for coverage but you will have to have professional help.
Medicaid assistance is available only to those who own very little. The Medicaid rules determine what “owning very little” means. A person can only own around $2,000 of what Medicaid calls “resources.”
These include cash in the bank, CDs, the cash value of insurance policies, investments, etc. Income includes regular paychecks, Social Security, or child support payments.
Both income and resources are potentially “counted” by Medicaid as “available.” To qualify for assistance, available income and resources must be carefully spent or transferred away.
Some resources are exempt. Medicaid rules exclude them from the $2,000 limit and they are sheltered from Medicaid’s requirement that the applicant must spend down almost everything before assistance will be available.
For example, a married couple’s residence, one motor vehicle per person, household goods and furnishings, medical equipment, jewelry, and other items are exempt. So, an ill spouse can still qualify for Medicaid assistance even if the couple owns those resources.
The distinction between “exempt” and “non-exempt” assets can be tricky, though, and should first be assessed by a qualified elder law attorney before taking any action.
I’ve seen people lose everything spending down when they didn’t have to. I want you to be able to keep the largest amount of your money and property you possibly can AND get the best care you can.
Call us today at Elder Law Guidance at (859) 544-6012 to get your Free Guide to Qualifying for the Care You Deserve or to set up a free consultation to discuss your needs.