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What Are the Rules for Medicaid Qualification (Part 4)? - Allowable Income

As part 3 of our series, your Medicaid planning advisor can best help you determine how the rules apply to your specific circumstances in your specific locality. Before you get into the specifics, however, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the general federal guidelines for Medicaid qualification that apply everywhere.

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Allowable Income

How much income are you allowed under Medicaid law?

There are different answers for the “community spouse” and the individual who resides in a nursing home.

  • Nursing home residents can only keep $60 a month as a personal needs allowance – the rest of their income must go to help cover the cost of their care.
  • If the resident is married, the community spouse can keep between $2.288/.75 - $3,435.00 a month (in 2022), including income from the nursing home spouse.
  • Many states permit the community spouse to retain all of their individual income without limit. In other states, the community...
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What Are the Rules for Medicaid Qualification (Part 3)? - Property Liens

As in part two of our series, your Medicaid planning advisor can best help you determine how the rules apply to your specific circumstances in your specific locality. Before you get into the specifics, however, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the general federal guidelines for Medicaid qualification that apply everywhere.

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PROPERTY LIENS

In addition, the state can place a lien on an unmarried Medicaid recipient’s home, unless certain dependent relatives live on the premises or the state permits a “Homestead Exemption”.

Sale of the property, while the person receiving Medicaid is still living, could result in the loss of Medicaid coverage (due to excessive assets) and an obligation to use the sale proceeds to satisfy the lien that Medicaid places against the home.

There are exceptions to this rule. Satisfaction of the lien is not required if the applicant returns home prior to their death or one or more of the following...

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What Are the Rules for Medicaid Qualification (Part 2)? - Estate Recovery

What Are the Rules for Medicaid Qualification (Part 2)?

As in Part One of our series, your Medicaid planning advisor can best help you determine how the rules apply to your specific circumstances in your specific locality. Before you get into the specifics, however, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the general federal guidelines for Medicaid qualification that apply everywhere.

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ESTATE RECOVERY

What happens to a Medicaid recipient’s estate when he or she passes away? Like so much else, that depends on whether they have properly planned to protect it.

When a Medicaid recipient dies, the state may attempt to recover the benefits paid to that individual from his or her estate – that is a requirement under federal Medicaid law. However, the state cannot proceed with this recovery process if any of the following applies:

  • if the recipient’s spouse is still living
  • if the recipient has a child under age 21
  • if the recipient has a...
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What Are the Rules for Medicaid Qualification (Part 1)? - Assets

What Are the Rules for Medicaid Qualification (Part 1)?

Medicaid is a federal program that provides health coverage for people with limited assets and incomes. It covers the cost of nursing home care for those who meet the program’s economic requirements for eligibility, and in several states, it will also pay for care in your home!

Though it’s a federal program, Medicaid is administered by the states. Federal law empowers each state to enforce Medicaid eligibility rules according to its own interpretation. This means that application of these rules can vary significantly from state to state and, in some states, from county to county. Qualification for care in your home is also different for qualifying for care in a nursing home.

Your Medicaid planning advisor can best help you determine how the rules apply to your specific circumstances in your specific locality. Before you get into the specifics, however, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the general...

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Estate Planning is NOT Just About Death Planning

Most people, when thinking about estate planning, are focusing on what happens when they die.

This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.

There are many legal tools that can be used to enhance the quality of your life and to reduce the burden to your family when disability – which is inevitable for most of us – happens.  It is also important to understand that the right kind of estate planning may be a necessary component in ensuring that your spouse or children “left behind” are not left in poverty or overwhelmed. 

The first step in estate planning is education. One of the biggest challenges I face as an attorney is making people understand that things they “think they know” aren’t necessarily true.  When it comes to estate planning – What you don’t know can hurt you.

Provided within the Family & Aging Law Center Blog, we're looking at some aspects of how estate planning works. Hopefully,...

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Powers of Attorney - The Facts

POWERS OF ATTORNEY

The Facts...

 

If you become sick or disabled, either temporarily or permanently, who will make decisions for you?

  • A Power of Attorney allows you to appoint someone you trust to handle your affairs if you cannot do so. 
  • If you are unable to do it yourself, your family will be prevented from paying bills, getting records, helping you get treatment, pay doctors or qualify for Medicaid, or making other important decisions on your behalf, if you do not have comprehensive, well written, and specific Powers of Attorney in place.
  • Without comprehensive, well written and specific Powers of Attorney, your family may have to file a court proceeding, seeking guardianship of you (for health care decisions) or seeking conservatorship (for financial decisions). This process involves the Court, several lawyers and usually at least $4,000 to $50,000. A Power of Attorney might cost $200 - $500.
  • There are two main types of Powers of Attorney:  financial and health...
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Discharged From Rehab: Is Your Loved One Really Ready?

One of the things that we hear (a lot) from clients is how panicked they are when a loved one that has been in rehab is being suddenly discharged - but the family doesn't think they're really ready to go home - or, even worse, the family is told that their loved one is being discharged but needs 24/7 care or supervision.

Very few families are ready for this. The logistics of getting care for a person in a home environment may seem easy (just hire someone!), but most families, when faced with the cost, realize that this is not a long-term solution. That's when the questions start:nursing home medicaid

  • Should you quit your job, to care for your loved one?
  • Should you hire someone anyway, even if you (or they) can't afford it long-term?
  • What benefits might be available to pay for care?
  • How long will it take for benefits to kick in?
  • What happens if benefits aren't enough - or if there are no benefits available?

Timing: Seeking Answers Before Your Loved One Is Discharged From Rehab Is Crucial

It is...

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Medicaid Planning - Things to Remember

Get The Help (and Protection) That You Deserve. 

Though there are many complexities to Medicaid planning, it’s important to understand Medicaid is there to help families like yours. Medicaid planning is the best way to ensure you receive the benefits to assure you protect as much of your hard-earned assets as the law allows, and to receive the care you need.

It is also important to understand that Medicaid planning may be a necessary component in ensuring that the spouse “left behind” is not left in poverty. The first step in Medicaid planning is education. The more you know about how Medicaid works, the better you will be able to look out for the interests of your family.

For more detailed information, it’s best to consult with a qualified legal advisor. So think of this as an introduction.

Things to Remember... 

It’s NEVER Too Late

Medicaid planning can begin anytime, even if your loved one is already living in a skilled care facility....

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VA Pension Benefits - The Facts

VA Pension Benefits

The Facts...

VA Pension is a benefit that many veterans just are not aware of, or are often told that they don’t qualify for, even if they can become qualified. If you are a Veteran or a Widow of a Veteran, you may be able to obtain tax free income from the VA to help pay for the cost of home health care, assisted living care, and nursing home care. The benefit is called “Improved Pension.” In addition to the Pension, a person who is housebound or in need of the assistance of another person with activities of daily living may receive additional pay called Housebound Benefits or Aid and Attendance Benefits, which is s supplement to the Pension.

All of the following criteria must be met before a veteran or widow(er) of a veteran can receive Improved Pension benefits:

  • The veteran must have served at least 90 days of active service with at least one day of service during a wartime period.
  • The veteran must have received a discharge that is other...
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Medicaid Planning - The Facts

MEDICAID PLANNING

The Facts...

Assets in a Revocable Living Trust are not protected and must be used to pay for the costs of long term care.

If you are married, your home is exempt and cannot be taken when applying for Medicaid.  If you are single or widowed, your home is exempt up to $552,000 (2015). If you transfer your home to your children, not only will it result in immediate ineligibility for Medicaid, but it could also:

  • Trigger a gift tax,
  • Result in the loss of your homestead tax exemption, and,
  • Result in your child’s spouse (the in-laws) inheriting your home. 

Giving your assets away means losing control. It’s not safe even if you “trust” who you give it to. If that person divorces, goes bankrupt or is sued, all of the money you transferred is at risk. There are asset protection trusts that permit you to keep 100% control of your assets without the risk of losing them if long-term care is needed.

You do not have to wait 60 months to...

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