Life can be very unpredictable, even more so as you age. One day, you may be perfectly healthy and the next day, you could have a major health scare, like a stroke that leaves you disabled, unable to walk, speak, or even move. Or, in some cases, dementia may develop in a member of your family, and, in both situations, long-term care is necessary. Then reality sets in, because the cost of long-term care averages about $100K a year and people with strokes or dementia often need care for many years, which can quickly deplete any hard-earned savings, leaving nothing to pass on to your children or spouse. For an elder care attorney, Medicaid law is a specialty. We are very familiar with the process associated with becoming eligible for Medicaid and can prove to be very beneficial to you.
Medicaid Long Term Care
If you are eligible for Medicaid, it can help cover nearly 100 percent of long-term care costs. Medicaid assistance for long-term care, though, has strict rules and the application can be described as complex, to say the least. When it comes to looking for an elder care attorney, Medicaid is something they should specialize in. There are no universal rules that apply to everyone, and each applicant is reviewed individually. The main determining eligibility factor for Medicaid long-term care assistance is that you cannot have assets or income beyond the cap set by the agency. For example, if you own two homes and four cars, right away you are not eligible for Medicaid. The funding is for people with low-income levels, and, in order to qualify, you need to meet the rigid criteria regarding the number of assets and income you can have. That’s where Medicaid lawyers can help. They can restructure your assets and/or move some income into a specialized trust so that you may become eligible to receive benefits.
No Long-term Care Planning
Unfortunately, many people never consider long-term care in their future plans and when they fall ill or become disabled, they have very few options to pay for their care. Some seniors may have long-term healthcare insurance and others may need to pay out-of-pocket for the expenses. The final option is to apply for Medicaid long-term care. However, applying for Medicaid long-term care is not an overnight process; it is a complex process that requires enormous documentation. With an elder care attorney, Medicaid application is a familiar process. Even after the application is submitted, Medicaid rarely replies right away, and rejections are very common. Most seniors have to reapply, and all this can take months. If you have suddenly become ill, and have not applied for Medicaid ahead of time, all the initial expenses come out of your pocket if you need long-term care assistance. The way to avoid such scenarios is to be proactive and consult with an elder care attorney ahead of time.
Is An Elder Care Medicaid Attorney Necessary?
To apply for Medicaid long-term care assistance, you do not have to retain Medicaid lawyers, but you are strongly encouraged to do so because it can save you time and make the entire process easier. You are free to go on to the Medicaid CARES website and apply online yourself, but there are a few things that you should know about the application process. First, it is complex, requires extensive documentation, and you have to know what the countable and non-countable assets are. Plus, Medicaid has a five-year “look-back” period to ensure you have not given away your assets to friends and family just to become eligible for Medicaid. If Medicaid does find that you have intentionally disposed of your money to meet the cap requirements, you can be disqualified from applying and/or you can even be charged with fraud. To avoid these situations, it is highly recommended that you consult with an elder care attorney; Medicaid can help you with many things, including the following:
General Estate Assistance
- Offer you legal advice on what your rights are
- Create a will for you and other members of your family
- Designate your beneficiaries
- If your health is failing, your lawyer can establish durable power of attorney and medical power of attorney
- Determine ways to decrease and/or avoid estate tax when possible
- Determine methods of avoiding the probate court process
- Set up any trusts to protect your assets, both for your benefit while alive in the event you become disabled and for the benefit of your beneficiaries after your death
- Discuss the various options available for long term care
- Determine if you are eligible for Medicaid long term care
- Assist with long term care planning
- If you have assets and income above the Medicaid cap, then the lawyer can help restructure your assets so that you can qualify
- Set up a Miller trust
- Help collect all the financial and income documents that are necessary for the Medicaid application
- Assist you with the Medicaid application
- Act as your representative with Medicaid during the application
- File for an appeal if there is a rejection of the initial application
Finally, if you have significant assets that you want to protect and transfer to your children and spouse after your death, then it is important to consult with an elder care lawyer.
Medicaid Specialist vs. Elder Law Medicaid Lawyer
Consulting with an elder care attorney who specializes in Medicaid is far more effective for long-term planning than consulting with just a Medicaid specialist (who are usually not lawyers). While a Medicaid specialist may appear to be cheaper in the short term, the number of things that he or she can accomplish in terms of estate planning is limited, compared to what Medicaid lawyers can do. The more complex the case, the better off you will be with an experienced elder care attorney Medicaid. Overall, Medicaid lawyers not only know the law surrounding estates, but they have a deep understanding of how Medicaid law functions because they have a specialization in it.
What is the Cost of an Elder Care Attorney Medicaid?
In general, Medicaid lawyers will cost less than what you would pay for two months at a nursing home. In most cases, the attorney fees can range between $7K to $15K, which is minuscule compared to the amount of money you can save in the long term. Call Elder Law, P.A. today at 1-561-588-7512 to learn more about the options you have when needing to enroll for Medicaid assistance.