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Medicaid Planning Attorney in Downey Helping You Secure Long-Term Healthcare

Medicaid is a federal and state program that was set up to assist individuals with long-term care costs. Because Medicaid is partly state-run, the rules and eligibility qualifications can vary from state to state. However, in most cases, individuals must meet certain income and asset qualifications to qualify for Medicaid.

Because Medicaid is such an essential program for those with long-term care needs, filing the Medicaid application and determining eligibility on your own can be a stressful experience. Fortunately, a Medicaid planning lawyer can walk you through the process and coach you on how to handle the income and asset requirements. If you are starting to think about Medicaid and healthcare costs as you age, reach out to Resolve Law Firm, APC for a free consultation by calling 213-583-5547.

Who Qualifies for Medicaid?

Because Medicaid is a needs-based program, most qualifications revolve around an individual’s income level. Additionally, you must also show that you have a need for medical assistance. Many individuals do not qualify for Medicaid benefits because their income levels are too high. Fortunately, there are other ways to qualify for Medicaid, including spending down your income and lowering your asset levels.

Besides income, you may also qualify for Medicaid in California if you meet any of the following requirements:

  • You are blind
  • You are disabled
  • You are pregnant
  • You are in a skilled nursing home or intermediate care home
  • You are on refugee status for a limited time
  • You are a parent or caretaker of an eligible child
  • You have been screened for breast or cervical cancer

There may be other instances that qualify you for Medicaid automatically. If you are unsure whether you qualify for Medicaid, reach out to an attorney today.

What Do Medicaid Planning Attorneys Do?

A Medicaid attorney can, first and foremost, assist you in filling out a Medicaid application. Because the requirements are stringent, filing paperwork and providing the necessary documentation is vital to ensure your application is accepted. While it is not required to have an attorney walk you through the application process, it is recommended, especially if your circumstances are unique or complex.

Additionally, a Medicaid lawyer can help individuals apply for Medicaid when they are over the income or asset limits. Using planning techniques like trusts or spending down can help individuals secure Medicaid eligibility to pay for long-term healthcare and health services. Many individuals use these techniques to adjust their income and asset levels while still retaining their entire estate.

What Does Medicaid Cover?

Medicaid is meant to help individuals pay for healthcare services. Typically, Medicaid serves the elderly or those with disabilities. While Medicaid can be used for many things, there are some typical programs that it is used for.

Medicaid may cover the following:

  • Assisted living facility costs
  • Home care services
  • Nursing home care
  • Ongoing care
  • Memory care
  • Prescription drugs
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy

And more. Depending on your medical needs, Medicaid may cover additional services. Your attorney can assist you in proving your medical need and asking for increased coverage.

How Can an Attorney Help Me Protect My Assets?

There are a few different ways a Medicaid planning attorney can assist you in protecting your assets while qualifying for Medicaid. Your exact circumstances may change the legal strategy that your attorney recommends. The timing of your Medicaid need may also impact the strategy that you can choose. Generally, planning ahead as soon as possible gives you the most freedom to protect your assets.

Below are some legal strategies for protecting your income and assets:

Medicaid Asset Protection Trust

A Medicaid Asset Protection Trust (MAPT) protects individuals from the penalty for gifting assets. The trust protects assets for non-Medicaid spouses to ensure they can receive benefits and live independently. MAPTs also protect assets in the event of the Medicaid recipient’s death because assets in these trusts are protected from the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program.

Modern Half a Loaf

In this strategy, a Medicaid recipient will gift half of their excess assets, or the assets that put them over the limit to qualify for Medicaid. After gifting these assets to their loved ones, the recipient will purchase an annuity with the remaining excess assets. Because an annuity turns assets into an income stream, the income from the annuity will pay for the cost of long-term care during the penalty period.

Miller Trust

For a senior citizen in a crisis period, meaning they need Medicaid benefits within 60 days, an attorney may suggest enacting a Miller Trust. Any income that is over the Medicaid limit is put into an irrevocable trust to be used for other purposes. However, irrevocable trusts cannot be changed or canceled, so this may not be an ideal option for most people.

Do I Need to Hire a Medicaid Planning Attorney?

Long-term care costs are a concern for most people, no matter how much income or assets they currently have. If you would like to take advantage of Medicaid benefits but do not meet the requirements to do so, consulting with a Medicaid planning attorney is essential. Depending on your financial and economic circumstances, you may be able to use trusts and other strategies to transfer assets and qualify for Medicaid and other social services. A Medicaid planning attorney can also assist you in estate planning and choosing a trust that meets your financial needs.

Nursing home services, in-home care, and other Medicaid benefits can mean the difference between spending thousands on healthcare and enjoying retirement comfortably. Please don’t feel like you must navigate these complex social service applications on your own. No matter how far off your Medicaid needs are, contact Resolve Law Firm, APC for legal advice at 213-583-5547.