Safeguarding Your Present & Future

Medicaid for Long-Term Care

How a Pittsburgh Elder Lawyer Can Help

As nursing care can be unbelievably expensive, it is important that people get all the help they can in paying for it. Medicaid is a federal and state program that helps people fund long-term care for those who cannot afford it. Marks Elder Law has helped many clients to protect their assets and apply properly to be able to obtain the highest benefits they can receive. For an experienced Pittsburgh elder law and estate planning lawyer who has your best interests at heart, give our firm a call.

Have a question about filing for Medicaid long-term care? Call Marks Elder Law at (412) 500-9488 or contact us online. We offer free consultations.

Are You Eligible for Medicaid Benefits?

Applying for Medicaid is a complex and time-consuming process. In order to qualify to receive Medicaid coverage for long-term care, there are certain requirements that must be met, and the government will take its time verifying all the necessary paperwork on the road to approval.

To qualify for Medicaid, a person must:

  • Be eligible for a nursing facility – Those who are already in a nursing home will likely already qualify for this point. For others, Medicaid will assess whether or not they need to be in a nursing home before making any approval
  • Not have too much income
  • Have only assets that don't exceed what's allowed, or that are not counted
  • Not give away assets in order to avoid funding their own care – Medicaid asks that patients first exhaust their money on their own care before applying for coverage. Any assets given away five years prior to applying will hurt that person’s ability to receive care. This means giving money away without receiving anything in return

Protecting Assets Legally

While the federal government requires you to spend almost all of your own money before providing you with Medicaid for long-term care, there are legal ways through which you can save more of your money. Medicaid does provide for certain exemptions. In any case, speaking with an experienced Pittsburgh estate planning, elder law, and disability law attorney can help you make the right decisions for protecting your assets.

Some Medicaid exemptions include:

  • Up to about $560,000 of equity in your primary residence
  • Unlimited amount of value in a single motor vehicle
  • Reasonable prepaid funeral costs
  • Certain cash amounts (either $2,400 or $8,000)
  • IRAs, 401K's, etc., of the non-nursing home spouse still at home
  • A very small amount of life insurance

Rules for Married Couples

Usually one spouse in the couple requires care before the other. For these cases, it is possible to transfer assets to the other spouse in an effort to become eligible for benefits. The partner who does not yet require long-term care is known as the community spouse. While the couple's assets are counted together by Medicaid, their incomes will not be counted together and are separate instead. The community spouse can keep his or her income and it does not have to be spent on the nursing home spouse like their combined assets.

Medicaid rules allow a Community Spouse Resource Allowance that protects a certain portion of assets for the husband or wife still living at home. These amounts range from $24,000 up to almost $124,000 in 2018. Because calculating these amounts can be complicated, we recommend that anyone applying for Medicaid call Marks Elder Law for a free consultation about how to proceed.

Call (412) 500-9488 now to speak with a Pittsburgh estate planning attorney.

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