Your Guide Through The Medicaid Maze
When you or a loved one who is 65 or over needs Medicaid benefits in order to pay for long-term care, you will likely need some guidance. The rules and regulations in this area of law change often and present many challenges to the unwary. They may differ slightly based on whether you receive nursing home care or home-based care and whether you are married.
At Law Office Of Douglas A. Oberdorfer, P.A., our legal team is ready to give you that guidance. Attorney Douglas Oberdorfer has been practicing law for over 20 years and helping older clients throughout Florida since 2003. He can explain to you what you will need to do in order to qualify for assistance, and how to best protect your assets.
Why Do You Need To Plan For Medicaid?
Once you determine that you will need assistance from Medicaid to afford your long-term care, you may wonder why you should plan for it. You could simply apply, but you may step into some hidden traps along the way. An experienced elder law attorney will look at your situation to help you take the right steps, avoiding those traps and answering your questions. For example, you may want to consider the following issues:
- What are the income and asset levels to qualify for Medicaid? Eligibility for Medicaid depends on how much you own in cash, investments and other assets, as well as your monthly income.
- What assets are in your name? Certain assets are not considered under Medicaid rules, such as your homestead (up to a certain value). Other assets will count against you.
- Are you married? The rules are different for the spouse staying at home, and the way you count your assets depends on your marital status.
- Have you made any transfers of property in the last five years? When counting your assets, Florida will look at any gifts or other transfers you made for less than an item’s value in the past five years.
- If you are over the asset limit, what can you do to become eligible? You may need to “spend down” some of your assets, following specific rules, until you reach the eligibility limit.
These are just a few of the complicated factors that go into determining your eligibility and making sure you qualify for the most benefits possible.
Asset Protection And Estate Recovery
In addition to qualifying for Medicaid, you may worry that you will lose everything you own. Given the strict asset and transfer rules, you have a good reason for your concern. An experienced elder law attorney can help you determine what assets you may keep or transfer to another family member without violating the rules. If these transfers are not done properly, the state may try to reclaim the property after your death in an estate recovery action.
Legal assistance is an allowed expenditure under the Medicaid rules and an investment that is often well worth the expense. The further ahead you plan for your long-term care needs, the more control you will have over your estate. We are also happy to review cases of Medicaid rejection.