Medicaid Eligibility For Nursing Home Care
In order to qualify for Medicaid, your life savings cannot be greater than the Medicaid resource limit. Certain assets are not counted as being part of your life savings. For example, if you have a spouse living in the family home, then the home does not count for Medicaid resource limit purposes.
If your life savings is higher than the Medicaid limit, you will not be eligible to receive Medicaid coverage for your nursing home or home care costs. You will be told to spend your life savings towards your cost of care until you are down to the Medicaid levels.
You should never assume that it is too late. Quite often you have legal options to save some or all of your life savings even if you are already in a nursing home. The Koldin Law Center, P.C. Medicaid Law Attorneys can represent you throughout the entire Medicaid process. There is something you can do.
There are many special exceptions to the basic Medicaid rules where additional assets can be protected.
Single Person Eligibility Rules in New York State
The Medicaid resource limit for a single person in New York State for 2020 is $15,750. You will be forced to sell your investments, cash in your CD’s, cash in your life insurance policies, sell your summer cottage, and sometimes even sell your home.
If you are in a Nursing Home, you will only be entitled to keep $50 of your monthly income. If you are receiving home care, you will be entitled to keep $895 of your monthly income (2020 figures).
Married Couple Eligibility Rules in New York State
The assets of both spouses are treated as being available to the spouse who is applying for Medicaid.
The ill spouse is treated as a single person and is entitled to keep the same income and resources as a single person.
The healthy spouse is entitled to keep a minimum spousal allowance of $74,820 up to a maximum of $128,640 of the couple’s combined life savings. The healthy spouse is also entitled to keep at least $3,216 of the couple’s combined income. If the healthy spouse has income of his/her own above $3,216, then the Medicaid Agency will “request” a contribution of 25% of all income above $3,216.
There are specific rules for Medicaid Covered Home Care
Medicaid Transfer Rules
As a general rule, you cannot transfer assets for the purpose of qualifying for Medicaid for Nursing Home Coverage. However, there are many exceptions to this rule. These exceptions can be important for preserving your life savings in a time of immediate crisis.
The transfer of assets can result in a penalty period of ineligibility for Medicaid coverage.
The Medicaid Agency is entitled to look at all your financial transactions for the 60 months immediately preceding your Medicaid application. Medicaid can review your bank statements and question each of your deposits and withdrawals for the past 5 years.
In the event you apply for Medicaid before the expiration of the 60 month penalty period, the government has a formula that could extend your period of ineligibility beyond the 60 month period.
If you decide to make transfers, you should then review whether it would be better to make gifts to other people or to an Irrevocable Trust. As part of making gifts, you may also want to consider transferring your home with a retained life Estate.
At the Koldin Law Center, P.C. located in East Syracuse, New York, we have over 50 years of experience helping elderly individuals plan for immediate crisis and long term care. Our firm represents clients in Onondaga county and throughout all of Upstate New York.
Contact our experienced Upstate New York elder law attorneys to schedule a free initial consultation. We are available for home and hospital visits and our flat fees are very reasonable.