Medicaid Planning Lawyers in Delaware County, PA, Assisting Seniors in Obtaining Necessary Healthcare Benefits
As individuals age, they may realize they need to enter a nursing home to receive the type of medical assistance they require. However, the average nursing home cost is expensive and can quickly deplete an individual’s life savings. Moreover, typically health insurance plans do not cover the costs associated with ongoing care.
Many older adults are forced to turn to nursing home Medicaid to offset the costs of their care. However, obtaining benefits is not as easy as filling out the Medicaid application. Instead, Medicaid is a needs-based program that pays for long-term care if the applicant lacks the financial resources to pay for it independently.
Sadly, many individuals and their families believe they must “spend down” all their financial resources and assets to qualify. While Medicaid has stringent rules regarding the amount of resources an individual may have at their disposal, there are legal avenues available that can help them keep assets or put them to good use without spending them.
If you would like to learn more about how a Medicaid planning attorney can help you obtain Medicaid benefits, contact the law offices of Peak Legal Group of Delaware Co, PA, and ask to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.
What is the Medicaid Five-Year Look Back Period?
When an individual applies for Medicaid, the government will conduct a 5-year look-back investigation which reviews your financial transactions for the last 60 months. This investigation determines Medicaid eligibility and whether you attempted to qualify by transferring or gifting your assets to avoid paying out-of-pocket costs.
If the investigation discovers you violated Medicaid rules, you could be subject to costly transfer penalties.
However, some legal methods allow you to transfer assets without incurring penalties. For example, if you have transferred your home within the 5-year look-back period, it is better to pay for the nursing home services yourself until the look-back period will not disclose the transaction.
Additionally, if you have children or grandchildren who have been caring for you but also lack financial resources, you may be able to apply for in-home care Medicaid benefits. While your family provides home care services, the clock can begin ticking on the look-back period. Having care provided at home can help you avoid having to pay for expensive nursing home care out of pocket.
A skilled Medicaid planning lawyer like those of Peak Legal Group can explain more about how you can protect your assets and avoid the 5-year look-back period. It should be noted that the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program can also override any instructions that may be included in wills to recover money for services they have rendered.
What Assets Are Considered Exempt From Medicaid?
Many assets, such as bank accounts, stocks, bonds, and investments, are considered to be countable assets when determining Medicaid eligibility. Additionally, all assets married couples share are considered jointly owned and subject to the asset limit.
Nevertheless, the Spousal Impoverishment Rule allows the non-applicant spouse to a Community Resource Allowance CSRA), also referred to as the spouse’s protected share. CSRA allows the community spouse to keep up to 50% of the couple’s assets or a maximum of $146,620.
However, many assets are non-countable and considered exempt, including:
- The applicant’s primary home
- A vehicle
- Personal belongings
- Irrevocable burial reserves
Furthermore, a 401K or IRA of the applicant’s spouse is also exempt. Therefore, one of the first steps you must take in Medicaid planning is to obtain skilled legal representation and the legal advice you need to protect your hard-earned assets.
What is a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust?
A Medicaid asset protection trust (MAPT) can help you protect your financial resources but still obtain the assistance you need. Once the individual who established the trust places their assets in the trust, they are no longer considered under their control. Since a MAPT is irrevocable, it allows the Medicaid recipient to shield their assets without worrying they will be penalized.
When you create a MAPT as part of a comprehensive estate plan, you can safeguard your financial assets and leave them as an inheritance for your family.
What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Medicaid Attorney From Peak Law Group?
Peak Legal Group understands that understanding how Medicaid benefits work can be a confusing and overly complex process. However, our skilled legal team can work to find resources that may be available to you and provide information about asset protection.
Our attorneys may be able to help you qualify for a community Medicaid program, pooled trust, or other social services that can help you receive the medical care you need as you grow older.
It should be noted that the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program can also override any instructions that may be included in wills to recover money for services they have rendered. Also, Medicaid does not pay the costs if the individual enters an assisted living facility, although it may pay for specific healthcare services the individual requires.
If you would like to learn more about Medicaid planning, contact Peak Legal Group of Delaware Co, PA, by calling 610-989-7064 to schedule a free no-obligation consultation to discuss your needs.