How can I avoid mistakes when applying for Medicaid?

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Medicaid for long term care services is a program that provides benefits to someone with disabilities, or who is legally blind, and those older than age 65.

The applicant must meet certain requirements regarding income, resources, and level of care required. The applicant also cannot have given away assets for less than fair market value within the sixty months prior to the application.

Understand Medicaid planning options is important to avoid making mistakes. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation about Medicaid planning circulating on the internet. Well meaning family and friends will also want to tell you what you should do to qualify for Medicaid. Because Medicaid rules change frequently and planning options are so fact specific, you should seek advice from and experienced elder law attorney about your situation before taking action and applying for Medicaid.

You need to understand what your options are prior to making a Medicaid application. The sooner you start planning the more options you will have. For example, while it is true that you can simply ‘spend down’ on care costs to reach the resource limits for Medicaid eligibility, it is not a requirement. Assets above the resource limits can be used in a variety of ways to help both the spouse needing care and the spouse living in the community. While there are alternatives to ‘spending down’, giving away assets generally results in a penalty being assessed. If you have given assets away for less than fair market value in the past five years you must disclose the transfers on the Medicaid application. However, there are some exceptions to the disqualifying transfer rules that may apply to your situation and could be of benefit to you and your family.

An experienced Elder Law attorney can help you understand your options and develop a plan that best meets your specific situation and goals. Contact the Elder Law attorneys with the Law Offices of Nay & Friedenberg in Portland, Oregon at (503) 245-0894 to set an appointment.

If you would like to learn more about Medicaid planning options, click here to receive our FREE Legal/Financial Planning Guide.