At Marks Elder Law we remain committed to serving you and meeting your legal needs promptly – more than ever in these demanding times. Our office is again open for any work that can’t be effectively done remotely, including meeting with clients (though we still use videoconferencing, phone and email as well)
Having up to date estate planning arrangements in the form of Powers of Attorney and Wills, at least, is crucial to peace of mind as well as actual preparedness. Use your Will and Powers of Attorney to specify who you want to help you if you need help – either while you are alive or after you’re gone – and what you want others to do to assist you when necessary.
You get to name your “Agent under Power of Attorney” and your “Health Care Agent” as well as your beneficiaries, Executor and Trustees under your Will – and their substitutes or backups - and say how you want events to unfold when you can no longer be in charge yourself. If you have plans in place, now is a good time to review.
We Can Help With Medicaid Long-Term Care Planning
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 along with the peace of mind. For an experienced Medicaid planning lawyer who has your best interests at heart, give our firm a call.
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 and medical assistance, 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 receiving nursing home care 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 is defined as 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 Medicaid planning 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. The community spouse can keep their 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 Us For Help In Navigating The Complicated Medicaid Process
The details of Medicaid rules and paperwork can be daunting, but you don’t have to figure it out alone. Call 412-415-7586 or send us an email to speak with a Pittsburgh attorney with experience in Medicaid law.