Medicaid is a program that pays for medical expenses and nursing home costs. Medicaid is a joint federal and state government program, so the rules about Medicaid eligibility vary from state to state. The requirements are generally fairly strict, because the program is intended to only pay for nursing home expenses of individuals with low income and asset levels. If a person has a significant amount of resources, he or she is expected to use those resources to pay for medical expenses and long-term care.
In order to qualify for Medicaid in New York, a person can only have $14,400, not including certain exempt assets such as a home, car, and personal effects. There is also an income cap, although individuals with over a certain amount of income can use techniques involving trusts in order to become eligible for Medicaid.
If an individual is married, the rules to qualify for Medicaid are different. If one spouse enters into a nursing home while the other spouse does not, there are limits to the amounts of assets the spouse who is not in the nursing home may keep and still allow the other spouse to qualify for Medicaid.
When looking at Medicaid rules and nursing home eligibility, many people think that they can transfer a loved one’s assets so that he or she will qualify for Medicaid. However, asset transfers made within five years of the Medicaid application can result in a person being penalized by Medicaid and failing to qualify for some period of time.
Medicaid law is highly complex, and if handled incorrectly can result in Medicaid eligibility being denied, which can cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.
If you are in the state of New York, and you or a loved one wants to qualify for Medicaid for long-term care, contact the skilled New York Elder Law attorneys at Friedman & Ranzenhofer at 716-542-5444. We will help advise you on the best course of action.