Many people are not sure how they will afford the medical care and other support they or their loved ones may need as they age. It is a point of stress for a lot of people, especially if they suffer from a chronic disease or have a loved one who requires placement in a long-term care facility. Private health insurance often does not cover assisted living and nursing homes, and this type of around-the-clock care can be very expensive.
Medicaid does cover long-term care facilities, but you must meet strict income and asset limits to qualify for this public benefit. Like many others, you may believe you will only meet these requirements if you spend your children’s inheritance and liquidate your assets. However, you may have other options. A Medicaid planning lawyer in Cherry Hill can help you understand how this program works, how you can meet the criteria, and your options for doing so while also preserving some of your hard-earned money.
Call Bratton Scott at 856-857-6007 to make an appointment with a member of our Medicaid planning team today.
What Are the Qualifications for Medicaid in New Jersey?
Because Medicaid is a need-based program, there are strict qualifications to receive health care through this government program. In New Jersey, you must be:
- A U.S. citizen or a qualifying immigrant
- At least 65, or suffering from a qualifying permanent disability
- Able to document your low income and limited assets
It is difficult to know what the income and asset limits might be in New Jersey when it is time for you to apply for Medicaid. These limits change over time. However, we can offer you estimates based on the current figures and your age and current health. New Jersey typically looks at your income and assets very closely, so you need to make sure you are under these limits to qualify.
Of course, there are rules for which assets count toward your total. Some assets are exempt. Others are not.
Medicaid is also aware of the tricks people use to hide assets, so they examine your recent expenses and other financial records. This often includes your mortgage, tax records, credit card bills, and more. If they find problems, they may limit your ability to apply for this and other need-based government benefits for several years. For that reason, it is paramount that you plan carefully and work with a Medicaid planning attorney to protect your assets.
How Can I Use Medicaid to Pay for Cherry Hill Assisted Living or Nursing Home Care?
If you have ever had a family member in an assisted living or nursing home, you know how expensive around-the-clock care can be. Most families do not have the money to pay for this out of pocket. When someone requires this type of care, they quickly burn through the money in their savings, checking, and other financial accounts. Their family members often have to liquidate what assets they can, then they turn to Medicaid to cover the ongoing costs related to their loved one’s care.
This is the typical route, and one option you could choose. However, it is rarely the best option. This is especially true if you have a decade or more before you will likely need this type of care. There are other options that insure your family’s future financial stability while still allowing you to pay for your care through Medicaid.
You may also require some health care services not covered by Medicaid, or qualify for other public benefits. Our on-staff social workers and registered nurses can help you find local programs to meet your needs, and plan coordination of care so you have the best quality of life possible even if you need to move into a nursing facility in the future. The goal of our Medicaid planning attorney is for you to walk away confident that you have a comprehensive plan in place to cover the vast majority of your current and future care costs.
How Can I Protect My Assets from Medicaid?
You worked hard to earn a living, and there are many options that you would probably prefer over spending it on your first few months in a nursing home or assisted living facility.
Assuming you plan far in advance, there are ways to protect your hard-earned money and ensure it goes to your surviving spouse, children, or other heirs. You could even leave it to a beloved nonprofit organization. We can help you pass down as much of your assets as possible while avoiding triggering any red flags when applying for Medicaid.
There are a number of different financial vehicles, including trusts, that allow you to protect your assets and qualify for income-based government benefits sooner. This is a fine line you must walk, however. There is a right way and a wrong way to spend-down your assets. If you make a misstep in this process, Medicaid will likely uncover it when it reviews the last five years of your financial records. Any attempt to hide or divert assets may bar you from reapplying for an extended period of time.
Some situations which seem relatively harmless can even hurt you. If you sell property to family members, it is important to charge them a fair market value instead of giving it as a gift or even offering them a great price. Medicaid will likely see it as an attempt to divest in your assets. But we can help.
For this reason, you should not attempt to put a plan in place to spend-down your assets without talking about your options with a Medicaid planning lawyer. You need to have the proper legal documents in place and have a solid plan that outlines everything you need to do to qualify for Medicaid. This is especially important if you may be within five years of needing around-the-clock care.
The best time to start thinking about Medicaid is right now. No matter your age, you can begin planning for your future. Most of us will require long-term care at some point. By starting early, we can protect more of your assets and ensure your children receive a larger inheritance.
How Can I Talk with a Medicaid Planning Attorney in Cherry Hill?
At Bratton Scott, our Medicaid planning team will review your assets and current financial situation, and consider how this may change before you require Medicaid. Then, we can craft a plan to ensure you get the benefits you need while also protecting as many of your assets as possible. We will explain a range of financial tools and resources, and help you decide which will work best for your situation.
Call our office today at 856-857-6007 or use our online form to reach us.