Though some people are unaware that you can use Medicaid to pay for extended care expenses such as nursing homes or assisted living facilities, even those that are aware often have various misconceptions about Medicaid and its requirements. If you are considering using Medicaid to pay for nursing home expenses, you should always speak to your estate planning attorney first, so you can have any questions answered in detail. In the meantime, let’s take a look at a few of the common misperceptions about Medicaid that many people have.
Myth 1: I have to sell everything to qualify for Medicaid.
This is not true. Medicaid allows you to keep specific assets and still qualify for the program. In particular, Medicaid allows you to keep your personal home. Additionally, Medicaid allows you to keep up to $2,000 of additional assets, and also allows your spouse to keep additional assets if he or she is not applying for Medicaid.
Myth 2: I can give away my assets and still qualify.
This is partially true. Medicaid only looks at the assets you own either individually or jointly with someone else. If you give away your assets to someone else Medicaid cannot count these. However, you must do so outside of five years of applying for Medicaid. This means that if you give away assets in excess of the Medicaid requirements within five years of applying you are not eligible for a certain waiting period. This five-year “look back” period is often why people come to estate planning attorneys to begin a comprehensive Medicaid plan.
Byrd : Garrett, PLLC is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.