Caregiver Corner: My Loved One Needs Long Term Care But Can’t Qualify for Medicaid


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I hear this time and time again.  However more often than not, caregivers do not have accurate information.  As a result, they either exhaust their own time and/or wellbeing providing care themselves or spend their families’ precious resources to obtain the necessary care.

Getting educated is so essential to the process of taking care of an aging loved one.  Most People seek answers from friends, co-workers or, doctors.  The value of getting the right information can be priceless and potentially life changing for a caregiver.  Typical questions caregivers struggle with are:

How do I care for my loved on at home?   If I have a home health aide, what can (or can’t) the aides do?

How much does it cost?   What is Adult Day Care?   What is Assistive technology?

What is Medicaid?  Do I lose my doctors?  Don’t I have to be “poor”?  What if I have a pension?  What if I own a house?

It is crucial to have an expert help you to navigate the options and make a plan specific to the needs of the individual and their family.  One size does not fit all.

To dispel a few myths about Medicaid – read on….

You have to spend all of your assets before you can qualify for Medicaid…Not True!   With proper planning, you can protect your assets by transferring them to a family member or a trust and still qualify for Medicaid.  This can include property, investment accounts, life insurance, etc…

There is a 5 year look back for asset transfers so I cannot qualify yet…This only applies for Nursing Home Care.  There is no look back period for long term home care – this means you can qualify the month following asset transfer.

I cannot qualify because I received a pension or other retirement income… There is a Medicaid eligibly income cap.  However, you can shelter all income over the cap through an entity called a Pooled Income Trust.

I cannot qualify for Medicaid because I own my own home…Your house is exempt as long as you live in it.  If you go to a nursing home, it is exempt only under certain circumstances.  If you live in your home until you die and you are the sole owner, Medicaid will seek asset recovery for exempt assets. So it is essential to seek legal counsel on potential transfers.

Clearly there is a lot to understand – Get informed!



Colin SandlerContributor: Colin Sandler

Providing Advice for Aging. Assistance with long term planning, community resources, medicaid eligibility and filing as well as pooled income trusts.

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