Updated: Apr 18
Medicaid is a jointly funded state and federal healthcare program for low-income and medically needy individuals of all ages.
There are different eligibility groups, but primarily Elder Law practices focus on individuals who are age 65 and older. Medicaid planning is part of a long-term care plan. The cost of a skilled nursing home, assisted living facility or in-home care is very high. Everyone should consider and include long-term care planning as part of their overall estate plan.
Do not wait until you are forced into poverty to start thinking about qualifying for Medicaid.
Eligibility and Limits
Many people think that they will NEVER be able to qualify for Medicaid benefits because the asset limits and income limits are low. In general, the asset limit for an individual is $2,000 and the income limit in Florida and Nevada is $2,313 (2019). The limits for assets are greater for married couples, but they are still quite low compared to an average client’s lifetime savings and total assets. Each prospective client must consider the strict Medicaid eligibility requirements BEFORE filing an application, and should utilize the skills and knowledge of a trained Elder Law lawyer in order to plan and meet the criteria to become eligible for Medicaid benefits.
What is income?
For Medicaid purposes, any income received by an applicant is counted. It can come from ANY source, including employment wages, Veteran benefits, social security, stock dividends, pension payments and alimony. Generally, for those who are married, the income of the non-applicant spouse is disregarded and does not affect the applicant spouse’s eligibility. There is also a minimum monthly maintenance needs allowance (MMMNA), which is a minimum amount of monthly income to which a non-applicant spouse is entitled. This benefit assists married couples where only one spouse is in need of Medicaid benefits.
What are assets?
Countable non-exempt assets include cash, stocks, bonds, investments, savings, checking accounts, real estate (outside of primary residence) and other assets. The good news is that there are assets that are considered exempt (non-countable) for Medicaid eligibility purposes. Exemptions are state-specific and may include things such as an automobile, primary residence (up to certain value limits), pre-paid funeral benefits, some personal belongings, and more. For married couples, there are higher limits, including a community spouse resource allowance (CSRA), which provides a higher asset threshold for Medicaid eligibility as compared to an applicant who is single.
Worried that your income and/or assets are higher than the eligibility limits? Fear not!
For those who do not immediately meet the eligibility requirements as limited above, there are other ways to qualify for Medicaid. Our Medicaid Planning attorneys are trained to analyze your situation and devise a plan to qualify you for Medicaid benefits. There are many planning techniques that we can utilize in order to qualify you or your spouse for Medicaid. Let us implement a variety of strategies to help you or your loved one become Medicaid eligible.
DO NOT WAIT until you are forced into poverty to start thinking about qualifying for Medicaid. With proper planning, you can preserve assets and receive Medicaid benefits to pay for some home health care, a significant portion of assisted living facilities, and nearly 100% of a skilled nursing facility bill. A comprehensive analysis must be undertaken in order to determine your Medicaid eligibility. Get help qualifying for Medicaid today.