Applying for Medicaid Without an Attorney - Part Two

April 20, 2010

This edition of the Koldin Report E-Newsletter reviews the risks you take when applying for Medicaid without being represented by an Attorney.

In the previous edition of the Koldin E-Newsletter, we reviewed that when you apply for Medicaid without knowing your legal rights, you risk losing an important opportunity to protect some or all of your life savings.

In this edition of the Koldin E-Newsletter, we will review that when you apply for Medicaid without knowing your legal rights, you risk being sued by the Nursing Home personally if you fail to obtain Medicaid coverage.

In a recent New York Appellate Division Court Case, Wedgewood Care Center v. Youdim, the son-in-law of the Medicaid applicant signed a nursing home Admission Agreement which stated that he would timely apply for and meet the requirements of Medicaid. The Admission Agreement also provided that he could be held personally liable if any acts or omissions on his part caused or contributed to the nonpayment of the Nursing Home's fees.

The son-in-law applied for Medicaid and the application was denied. The grounds for the denial were the failure to verify and document large withdrawals from the applicant's bank account and the failure to provide certain mutual fund statements.

After this Medicaid denial was issued, the son-in-law successfully reapplied for Medicaid but lost important retroactive coverage for past Nursing Home bills totaling approximately $61,000. The Nursing Home then sued the son-in-law seeking that he personally pay the Nursing Home this $61,000 shortfall on the grounds that he failed to obtain Medicaid coverage pursuant to the obligation he assumed by signing the Nursing Home Admission Agreement.

The Appellate Court held that the son-in-law can be sued by the Nursing Home and his liability must be determined by a Trial Court. In addition to being possibly liable to the Nursing Home after a Trial, the son-in-law will most likely incur large legal fees and Court costs.

The important lesson is if you apply for Medicaid without proper legal representation, you risk personal liability to the Nursing Home. In addition, as discussed in the previous Koldin E-newsletter on this topic, you can also unnecessarily lose a substantial portion of your life savings that could have otherwise been protected.

While social workers from nursing homes and hospitals are generally well-intentioned and desire to assist, they are unable to give legal advice on how to protect your life savings.

The Medicaid process is complex. The laws are constantly changing, as are the asset preservation options.

It is extremely important to remember that it is never too late to protect at least some of your assets. There is a great deal of misinformation being distributed. Many believe they have no choice other than to spend away all of their life savings.

The Koldin Law Center, P.C. practices extensively in the field of Medicaid Law. If you or a family member is receiving long term care at home, at an assisted living facility, or at a nursing home, or is at risk of needing such care in the near future, the Koldin Law Center, P.C. is available to assist and counsel you. There is no fee for the initial consultation to discuss your options.

The Koldin Law Center, P.C. is also available to review your estate planning options to protect your life savings before you face a catastrophic illness. There is something you can do.