Medicaid Eligibility and Your Home
For older adults, unexpected events can lead to serious personal injuries or illnesses that require long term care or even placement in a nursing home or other facility. Paying for these services or an extended stay can easily wipe out all of the assets you worked to accumulate over the course of decades, leaving nothing for those you want to inherit from your estate. Medicaid planning can help prevent this from happening by providing benefits which offset the high costs you are likely to incur. However, if you own your own home it could work against you in terms of Medicaid eligibility.
How Medicaid Helps Offset Nursing Home and Long Term Care Costs
Medicaid is a program funded jointly through the state and federal government, which helps low income individuals, the elderly, and those who suffer from disabilities. Over the past decade, it has played an increasingly vital role in helping people meet the high costs of nursing home care.
If you are unable to live on your own, it can the offset costs of treatment at a skilled nursing facility. If you are able to remain in your own home but need additional support, Medicaid related programs serving New York City offer the following services:
- Managed long term care: This program provides home based nursing care, attendants, health aids, and physical therapists
- Personal care services: If you experience difficulties with one or more daily activities such as cleaning, cooking, and personal care, Medicaid can help to provide attendants and housekeepers to assist with these tasks.
Medicaid Eligibility for Home Owners
Medicaid eligibility is based on your income and medical need for services. If you have significant amounts of income or in financial accounts, we can guide you ways of shielding these assets, such as creating a trust. However, if you own your own home, additional actions are needed to ensure eligibility and protect your property.
While you may be able to gift or transfer this property to others, Medicaid may impose a penalty on these transactions. Situations in which you can avoid these penalties include:
- When the property is transferred to your spouse;
- If you have a child who is disabled or under the age of 21;
- If you have an adult child who has acted as your caretaker;
- If you have a sibling who has lived in the home over the previous year.
In some situations where you retain part ownership of your home while receiving benefits, the program may be entitled to place a lien on the property after your death. Creating a trust to protect your home can avoid this, but action must be taken at least five years before long term care is required.
Contact Us Today for Help
At Cavallo & Cavallo, we know how easily the high cost of long term care services can wipe out all your assets. To discuss ways you can protect yourself and your home, contact our New York medicaid planning attorneys and request a consultation in our Bronx or Westchester office today.