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St. Petersburg Medicaid Asset Protection Attorneys

Helping You Pay for Long-Term Care - Call (727) 240-2350

Long term-care, also called custodial care, is the living arrangements that include nursing home care, assisted living facility care, and some at-home care circumstances. Not included is the up to 100 days available from Medicare for rehabilitative skilled care that may be provided in the same facility.

Long-term care is paid for in one or a combination of three ways:

  • Long-term care insurance
  • Private funds
  • Medicaid

Schedule a consultation with our St. Petersburg Medicaid lawyers today by calling (727) 240-2350.

Medicaid Basics

Many courts have commented that federal Medicaid laws are the most complicated laws that have ever been put into effect by Congress with the exception of the Internal Revenue Code. In addition, Florida has many special laws, rules, regulations, and interpretations that increase the confusion.

Achieving Florida Medicaid eligibility can be an overwhelming challenge for anyone, even for attorneys who practice in this area every day! Yet, a knowledgeable elder law attorney can provide proper guidance when navigating this area. With that help, the rewards can be great.

In Florida, there are a number of different Medicaid programs including a long-term care assistance program for the financially needy. The income amount that must be paid to the facility depends upon the resident’s marital status and the spouse’s needs.

Protect the Spouse

In Medicaid terminology, when there is a married couple, the spouse in the nursing home is called the Institutionalized Spouse and the spouse staying at home is called the Community Spouse. A married couple’s assets are considered all together. It does not matter if all the assets are held jointly or separately in each spouse’s name.

Some assets can be specifically exempt for the Community Spouse, such as:

  • A home and its contents
  • A vehicle
  • And prepaid funerals as long as they meet certain criteria

When the Institutionalized Spouse goes into the nursing home, that person’s countable assets must be less than $2,000, but the community spouse is entitled to keep much more. That amount changes annually.

There are several money-saving planning strategies that may be considered. In order to develop a strategy, a thorough review of the couple’s circumstances must be done.

How Are Medicaid Services Determined?

The following facts will play an important role in determining appropriate Medicaid services:

  • Age, medical condition, mental condition, lifestyle, prognosis, and desires of each spouse
  • All of the couple’s assets, ownership of each asset, values and tax cost basis
  • All income sources, amounts and survivorship rights
  • Full understanding of each spouse’s relatives
  • Potential for veteran’s benefits

Medicaid Eligibility Tests

There are certain criteria for Medicaid eligibility that fall into three basic categories.

Basic and Medical Necessity

This includes criteria such as medical necessity, age, citizenship, and residency requirements. To obtain nursing home Medicaid benefits, a person must be at least 65 years of age, blind, or disabled, and have the medical necessity to be in a nursing home.

Income Test

Florida is an Income Cap state, which means there is an income limit for Medicaid eligibility.

A person’s income is the total they receive from:

  • Social Security
  • Pensions
  • IRAs
  • And all other forms of income

The income limit typically goes up by a few dollars each year. Income for Medicaid purposes is gross income. This means that all deductions are added back into the income before one can determine the total amount.

Asset Test

The nursing home resident must have less than $2,000 of countable assets. Some assets are exempt. However, it is important to evaluate each asset carefully before one can know if the asset is countable or exempt.

Examples of countable assets are:

  • Cash in the bank
  • Cash
  • Stocks
  • Annuities
  • Bonds
  • Land
  • Minerals
  • Non-homestead property
  • Notes receivable
  • Boats
  • And certain extra vehicles

Countable assets must be less than $2,000. A knowledgeable attorney is essential to planning for and obtaining Medicaid eligibility. The HKH Elder Law team is here to help you navigate the Medicaid mountain.

Who Qualifies for Medicaid?

Florida’s long-term care Medicaid programs can assist people with paying for care in a nursing home, assisted living facility, or at home. It is available for eligible individuals who are 65 years of age or older, or individuals who are 18 or older with a disability.

There are 2 types of long- term care Medicaid programs:

  • Institutional Care Program [ICP] which is Medicaid for those requiring care in a skilled nursing or rehabilitation facility. The institutional care program helps those in skilled nursing facilities pay for the cost of their care.
  • Home and Community Based Services [HCBS] also known as Statewide Medicaid Managed Care, Long-Term Care program [SMMC LTC] or Medicaid Waiver/Nursing Home Diversion is for those receiving care in the community setting at either an assisted living facility or at home. This program provides assistance toward the cost of assisted living or home care.

Currently, the eligibility standards for a person or couple’s income & countable assets for both programs are:

  • For an Individual: Income- $2,349.00 & Countable Assets- $2,000.00
  • For a Couple: Income- $4,698.00 & Countable Assets- $3,000.00

This information is current as of July 2020. The Department of Children and Families reviews this information and makes changes to the eligibility standards annually.

We understand the hardships and confusion that come with trying to figure out your long- term care options alone. We are here to make sure you know what your options are and help you or your loved one qualify for Medicaid.

Call (727) 240-2350 today to schedule a consultation and discuss your options with our experienced Medicaid attorneys.

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