Medicaid restrictions and what they apply to
As you are probably aware, if you are applying for Medicaid there are income restrictions with all Medicaid programs. Medicaid in a Nursing Home, which is considered long term care, or in an Assisted Living Center which is considered Special Assistance.
When the state determines your financial eligibility for Medicaid some of your assets are counted, while others are excluded. During the Medicaid application process, you will have to provide documentation of what assets you have. While Medicaid’s assessment of your income is relatively straightforward, the assessment of your assets can be fairly complex, depending on how much and what kind of assets you have.
Assets that are usually counted for eligibility include:
- Checking and savings accounts
- Stocks and bonds
- Certificates of deposit
- Real property other than your primary residence
- Additional motor vehicles if you have more than one.
Assets that do not get counted for eligibility include the following:
- Your primary residence
- Personal property and household belongings
- One motor vehicle
- Up to $1,500 in funds set aside for burial
- Certain burial arrangements such as pre-need burial agreements
- Assets held in specific kinds of trusts
You should also know about the Community Spouse Resource Allowance (CSRA), which allows your spouse to keep a much larger portion of countable assets if you are going into a nursing home and he or she is not. An elder law attorney can show you how to take advantage of this.
There is an irrevocable trust, called a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust, which will ensure that any assets you place in it are no longer counted as resources. But if you place your assets in this trust during the five years before you apply, the government will assume that you have sold them, and will count their market value as part of your resources. If you need nursing home care within five years of placing these assets into a trust, you will have to pay for such care yourself until the state deems you eligible.
Help with asset protection in Gastonia, NC
It is important to begin planning to protect your assets more than five years before you intend to apply for Medicaid. This will mean finding an elder law attorney who can explain to you what assets you can protect and how to protect them. If you wish to use a trust, or to grant financial power of attorney to an agent, the right legal language is necessary to protect the assets.
Robert C. Whitt is a Gastonia attorney, servicing the areas of Gastonia, Charlotte, Mount Holly and Gaston, Mecklenburg, Lincoln Counties and surrounding communities for asset protection for the elderly. He focuses on wills, trusts and other aspects of elder law. Call and make an appointment today.