You can engage in Medicaid planning if you are already in a nursing home or assisted living facility. However, if you do so, you will likely end up spending all your hard-earned money, which might not be necessary. Medicaid planning is most effective if you engage in the process early, at least five years before you need nursing home care.
Medicaid Planning Matters
Without planning for how you will get Medicaid, you will need to spend down all your assets before you can qualify. This is because Medicaid has extremely low income and asset limits you must meet to receive benefits.
In addition, Medicaid does not allow you to simply give away your assets to friends and family to reach these asset limits. When you file a claim for Medicaid, your financial transactions for the previous five years are scrutinized. This includes your tax returns, bank statements, and any other documentation of changes in your financial standing.
If Medicaid believes you gave away any assets to qualify for Medicaid sooner, it will impose a strict penalty. This penalty bars you from receiving Medicaid for several months — or even years — after you become eligible.
For this reason, it is not a good idea to attempt to plan for Medicaid on your own. The rules are complex, and you may trigger a penalty unintentionally. A Medicaid planning attorney can help.
How Can I Qualify for Medicaid?
We have a full legal team including lawyers, social workers, and a registered nurse who can help you determine the best way to plan for Medicaid, even if you are already living in a nursing home. There are several ways we can do this, and we will help you weigh your options and determine which works best in your situation.
In many cases, we can help you spend your assets to pay off debts, or purchase exempt assets such as paying off the home where your spouse or partner will remain. You may also be able to buy certain personal items with your money, or spend the money on assistive devices or other medical expenses.
In other cases, our best option may be to protect some of your estate by gifting or loaning a portion to your heirs. The earlier we start, the more we can protect. If we have more than five years to plan, we can often protect much of the estate. However, if you are already in a nursing home, we can still gift some of your assets.
Gifting and loaning assets after you or your loved one are already in a nursing home will trigger a penalty, but we can minimize the impact.
Other Medicaid Planning Techniques
There are also other techniques we may use to help you get the Medicaid benefits you need without sacrificing your hard-earned assets you want to pass on to your children. In our initial consultation, we will analyze your assets, your future care needs, and what is best for your family. From there, we can offer the guidance you need to put the best plan in place for your needs.
Reach Out to a New Jersey Medicaid Planning Attorney Today
Bratton Scott can help you put a Medicaid plan in place, no matter if you are decades from needing a long-term care facility or if you already live in a nursing home. Call our New Jersey Medicaid planning attorneys today at 856-857-6007 to schedule your initial consultation.