Many of us are spending the last years of our lives in long-term care facilities. This has become a source of stress for many people because nursing homes and assisted living cost a lot of money and are not typically covered by private health insurance. Medicaid is often the best bet for paying for the around-the-clock care in a long-term care facility, as it covers visits to your doctor, hospitalization, prescription medications, nursing home care, and more.
However, there are specific criteria you must meet to qualify. Even if you do not believe there is any way you will ever qualify for Medicaid benefits, it is worth it to have a conversation with a Medicaid planning attorney in Haddonfield to be sure. We understand the qualifications for this program, and how the rules work about meeting these strict criteria. We can help you reduce stress about your future care, and determine your options.
Medicaid Qualifications and Your Income and Assets
To qualify for Medicaid in New Jersey, you will need to meet strict requirements. These change somewhat as time passes, but always include the following:
- Being a U.S. citizen or a qualifying immigrant
- Being over age 65, or permanently disabled
- Meeting strict standards for income and assets
Before the state will approve you for Medicaid, it will investigate your application and take a close look at your income and assets. Each state has its own limit, and some of your assets are naturally exempt. The rest, including your home, bank accounts, life insurance, retirement accounts, and other investments must fall below the current limit in your state.
To ensure you are not hiding assets or have not simply signed them over to someone else, they also look at your recent expenses, your mortgage, taxes, credit card bills, financial statements, and other expenditures. This is why you need to plan carefully and in advance to ensure your assets remain protected during this process.
Paying for Nursing Home and Assisted Living Care Costs with Medicaid
The costs of paying for nursing home care or assisted living out of pocket quickly drains the bank accounts of most middle-class families. Most people spend what money they have in their savings or investment accounts, then turn to Medicaid to help them cover the cost of custodial nursing home care for their family member or themselves.
While this is an option for your family, it may not be the best plan for your future financial stability. Our on-staff social workers can help locate the programs that best fit your needs, and our attorneys can form a comprehensive plan to ensure coverage of most of your care costs.
Protecting Your Assets from Medicaid
A future care plan centered on Medicaid can be difficult because, in most cases, you must first spend down (i.e., getting rid of) your assets before qualifying. This is why it is so important to plan ahead for Medicaid and other programs that cover long-term care. We understand you want to pass down as much of your hard-earned money as possible to your children or other heirs. What you do not want is to use it to pay it toward your life in a nursing home.
A big part of Medicaid planning is to look into financial vehicles like trusts that may allow you to protect your assets while also qualifying to Medicaid and other government benefits sooner. Of course, this is not something Medicaid wants you to understand.
It might try to put a halt on most of the popular spend-down techniques by reviewing the last five years of your financial records to ensure you are not attempting to hide or divert assets. For example, if the records show you received far below fair market value when you sold your home to your son, the state may not allow you to re-apply for or draw Medicaid for several years.
For this reason, it is paramount you work with a qualified lawyer when crafting your Medicaid plan for future care. You need to ensure your documents can stand up to their scrutiny, especially if you may need Medicaid to pay for your care within the next five years.
Our Medicaid planning attorneys encourage you to plan for your future needs now, before you need long-term care. This makes it easier to ensure most of your assets remain intact, and your heirs benefit from them.
We can plan a comprehensive review of your assets and financial situation, and determine the best financial tools and resources to preserve these assets while also managing your future care expenses. Even if your loved one is already in a nursing home or you are considering this move soon, our Medicaid specialist can help you understand your options.
Talk About Your Future Care with a Medicaid Planning Attorney in Haddonfield
At Bratton Scott, our legal team can help you plan for your future care needs while also focusing on preserving as much of your assets as possible for your children and grandchildren, or other beneficiaries. We can help you put a plan in place for your long-term care needs long before you require around-the-clock nursing care.
Our plan can maximize your chances of Medicaid eligibility thanks to our knowledge and experience with the system. In some cases, we can even help you receive these benefits much earlier than you might have otherwise.
Call our Haddonfield, New Jersey office today at 856-857-6007. We offer consultations to help you better understand your options for future care.