Ask ten different people about the rules for long-term care Medicaid and you'll likely get ten different responses. Even Medicaid workers in the same office have different understandings of the rules. For that reason it's essential to meet with someone who understands what it takes to qualify for long-term care Medicaid. Below, are three myths that I often encounter:
Myth #1: I'll lose my home and my spouse will be forced to move out. Medicaid is a needs-based program. This means that if a person has too many assets, they won't qualify for Medicaid benefits. The applicant's personal residence is exempt from that determination. Additionally, Medicaid will not take someone's home when there is a surviving spouse living in it.
Myth#2: I'll just gift all of my assets to my children to get below the allowable amount of assets. When determining eligibility, Medicaid has what it calls a "look-back" period. They look at all gifts that the applicant made five years prior to the application being submitted. For every $7,000 gifted in the past five years, a one-month penalty is incurred. For example, if the applicant gave away $70,000 during the past five years, that person will not be eligible for Medicaid benefits for 10 months. Giving assets away in order to reach the asset limit is one of the worst things an applicant can do.
Myth #3: I can't qualify for Medicaid benefits until all of my assets are spent down. While it is true that only a certain amount of assets are allowed in order to qualify, there are strategies to speed up the spend down process and preserve a percentage of the assets for the applicants children or other loved ones.
Medicaid rules are complicated. Undertaking the effort to qualify for long-term care benefits without the assistance of someone versed in the rules and knowledgeable of the process will likely lead to mistakes and frustration.
Call me today to discuss how I can help your loved one qualify for long-term care benefits.