Do I Make Too Much Money for Medicaid?
A 73-year-old single retiree (I will call him “Harry” for confidentiality) was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and is collecting Social Security and a small state pension. He owns a house and has roughly $100,000 invested. Harry was recently told that he probably has or collects too much money to be eligible for Medicaid assistance to help with any kind of long-term care, if it was required in the future. Harry knows that he may have to enter a nursing home within the year.
Harry was told (INCORRECTLY) that he has to “spend down” his $100,000 investments to only $2,000. Harry was devastated when he was told this by a nursing home case worker. Harry couldn’t believe that after a lifetime of honor, of hard work, paying his taxes, sacrificing for his family, and otherwise law abiding citizenship, that he would be impoverished.
Harry hated to know that he would not be able to leave an inheritance for his children and grandchildren. Harry’s favorite grandchild, Ethan, is a special needs child who is 25 years old, has mild autism and works at a local grocery store on the Northshore. Harry wanted to make sure to leave Ethan his home so that Ethan would have a place to live. But Harry was told that he could lose his home to Medicaid Estate Recovery after his death (this is correct) if Harry spent a significant amount of time in the nursing home. Harry came into my office depressed at the news. I could tell how distraught he was because he had a hard time looking his daughter (the mother of Ethan) in the eye when they sat down across from me in my office.
What options does Harry have, except for “spending down”, or buying a long-term care insurance policy, which may be extremely expensive at his age? Harry has several options, and he was really lucky that he found me, because misconceptions abound in this area of the law.
Harry (and you) can qualify much easier than might be expected. In fact, I can help you save hundreds of thousands of dollars in certain cases (even if you have not planned ahead, and planning ahead is even better!). In Harry’s case, I can potentially save Harry the entire $100,000 and possibly all (or at least a portion) of his home, depending on what happens over the next several months. As a matter of fact, even if Harry was already in the nursing home, I could save him tens of thousands.
You don’t have to impoverish yourself and your family for Medicaid long term care.
Nj.com’s recent article entitled “I think I make too much money for Medicaid. What can I do?” says that there are some steps a person can take if they think they make too much money to be eligible for Medicaid . However, this article is not very well written. The author did not address the law as it applies to Louisiana, and did not address the secrets to qualifying. While it is true that Medicaid has a five-year lookback, the suggestion in the article to obtain a reverse mortgage may be disastrous!
While it is true that if you as a Medicaid applicant gave away all of your assets this year and went into a nursing home expecting Medicaid to pay, the program would “look back” over five years at what you owned, you can still qualify. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.
While it is true that in Louisiana, a single applicant’s assets cannot be more than $2,000, a home, a car, and a burial plot or policy, you can still quality if certain steps are taken. Even if you have more than $2,000 (even significantly more), I can get you qualified. And in addition, the plan I develop for you can retain all the income tax benefits that you are entitled to. Yes, with a good plan, developed by a good estate planning attorney, you can have your cake and eat it too.
In the case of Harry, how much I can save him will depend exactly when he has to go into the nursing home. At least Harry has a little time to plan ahead. After I developed a plan for Harry, he wisely decided to retain my services. He told me that I made him happier than he had been in weeks. In fact, it seemed to me that he was better able to look his daughter, with some hope that he could leave that house to Ethan. He was also hopeful that he would be able to leave most (if not all) of his other assets to his children.
The best plan is to make sure that you plan ahead! And like I said, even if you don’t plan ahead, I can get you qualified, but at a cost. Don’t spend down your assets to $2,000 without talking to me. Don’t leave your heirs holding the bag for your failure to plan. Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish when it comes to the assets you worked so hard to acquire over your lifetime. You deserve better.
I am attorney Ted Vicknair. I am a Board Certified Estate Planning and Administration Specialist and a Board Certified Tax Law Specialist by the Louisiana Board of Legal Specialization, and I am a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). I have over 20 years of experience in estate planning and asset protection.
BOOK A CALL with me today to talk about the process of getting you started on planning ahead. Even if you haven’t planned ahead and you think you make too much money to be eligible for Medicaid, BOOK A CALL with me to discuss how I can potentially save you tens of thousands (possibly hundreds of thousands) of dollars, depending on your financial situation. Or call me at (985) 264-9822 to schedule a time to discuss you case. The call is free.
Reference: nj.com (March 11, 2021) “I think I make too much money for Medicaid. What can I do?”