Medicaid eligibility is not always as easy to achieve as some might assume. To ensure that your benefits are there when you need them, use sound estate planning techniques now. If you’re a resident of New York who’s watched rising nursing home costs with growing concern, you should recognize that you’re not alone. The high cost of long-term care has become a concern for millions of Americans, and New Yorkers share in that uncertainty. But, with proper Tarrytown Medicaid planning, you can be prepared for any eligibility issues that may arise.
Qualifying for Medicaid benefits
In recent decades, nursing home costs have skyrocketed to the point where the average cost in New York is now in excess of $100,000 a year. For many seniors, that cost is too much to manage on their own. As a result, many turn to the Medicaid program for assistance – but first they have to qualify for those benefits.
One of the main problems seniors often encounter, though, is that their income and assets are above the maximum limits allowed by Medicaid, but well below what they would actually need to pay for their nursing home care. That can present them with few options other than to pay for care until they exhaust whatever small nest egg they’ve managed to save during their working years, just to ensure that they qualify. To ensure that you get the benefits you need when you need them, you should use solid Tarrytown Medicaid planning techniques to ensure that your eligibility is secured later in life.
Meeting the Medicaid income and resource limits
Medicaid is a program that involves a partnership between every state in the country and the federal government. Each state cooperates with the federal authorities to jointly fund the program, and states are given wide latitude in how they determine eligibility for their residents. The end result is a program that receives monetary funding from state and federal governments, with certain broad rules being made by federal officials and more specific administrative decisions being made at the state level.
Like other states participating in the Medicaid program, New York has specific asset and income limits that must be met to qualify for benefits. To qualify, many seniors have to divest themselves of assets and arrange their income to accommodate those limits. Many use the Medicaid spend down techniques to spend their assets prior to applying for the program, as well as strategic gifting to reduce the size of their estates below the allowable limits.
Secure eligibility the right way
It is important to avoid those penalties, to ensure that you aren’t subjected to financial hardship. After all, if you worked diligently to divest yourself of assets just to get under the Medicaid eligibility limits and then found out that you were being penalized because Medicaid took issue with some of those transfers, your situation would be worse than it was before you started to apply for benefits. You’d have spent and transferred your assets, leaving you without the resources you need to pay for care during your ineligibility period.
To prevent that dire outcome, it is wise to make sure that your Medicaid planning strategy is executed the right way. That means avoiding all questionable asset transfers and instead focusing in a concerted way on converting as many countable assets as possible to non-countable assets. That can involve the use of irrevocable trusts, annuities, and allowable spend-down techniques to ensure that your assets aren’t spent or transferred in ways that harm your attempt at securing the benefits you need.
Tarrytown Medicaid planning as early as possible
The main problem that most people run into when it comes to Medicaid is that they wait too long to act. Many simply assume that they’ll either never need the program, or that they’ll have no problem qualifying for benefits when the time comes to apply. Obviously, that’s a mistake. According to some estimates, the program provides some level of support for six in ten of the nation’s nursing home residents – and Medicaid is now the single largest source for long-term care payments in the United States.
Since the odds suggest that the vast majority of us will at some time or another require this level of care in our senior years, proper planning should be a priority for every American. Moreover, that planning should begin early to ensure that there are no questionable transfers later in life that might draw scrutiny from Medicaid officials. And here’s the thing to remember: if you think that today’s nursing home costs are astronomical and unaffordable, what do you suppose they will look like twenty years from now? Costs are rising at a rate of three or more percent each year. To protect yourself against tomorrow’s expenses, you need to do everything that you can today.
Attend a free seminar today! If you have questions regarding Medicaid eligibility or any other Medicaid planning matters, please contact the experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Mary A. Miller, P.C. for a consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us at (914) 939-6565. We are here to help!