Most seniors and their loved ones apply for Medicaid themselves rather than use an attorney. While you don’t need an attorney to file your application, doing so provides you and your loved ones with numerous benefits. One of the biggest reasons seniors do not use attorneys is not because they don’t need one, but because they are afraid of how much it would cost them.
In reality, an attorney can help you and your family save money and ensure that you get the care you need.
Note: Medicaid Law Update – October 2021
New York finally adopted several regulations that imposed a major change in Medicaid eligibility. These regulations also introduced a “look-back” period into New York’s state’s Medicaid program.
A 30-month look-back provision gives the state the power to review the financial statements of anyone who is applying for home health care, private nurses, and other kinds of assisted living. By “looking back” at these records during the time period prior to their Medicaid application, the state can limit applicants’ eligibility.
Learn more about these changes if you’re planning to apply for Medicaid. Let our trusted attorney assist you with your Medicaid application.
What Is Medicaid and When Do You Apply for It?
Medicaid is a government health coverage that is offered to individuals to cover healthcare expenses, including those not covered by Medicare. To apply for Medicaid, you must either be a low-income family, qualified pregnant woman, or a party receiving their Social Security Income. Every state has requirements that they use to determine eligibility, especially if you are outside of the normal edibility requirements created by federal laws.
In addition to being the right status and age, you must meet financial requirements. Your income, including any retirement, pension, and SSI income that you receive is considered when you apply for Medicaid. Your assets also play a crucial role in eligibility.
What Happens to Your Asset When You Apply for Medicaid?
You can qualify for Medicaid with some assets, but you must have limited income and assets available to you – otherwise, the government expects you to use those assets to pay for your medical care. Typically, you can keep about $2,000 in assets and married couples can retain up to $3,000. Most applicants do not have to sell their home to qualify for nursing home assistance, but the state might request the house after the applicant’s death to pay back benefits.
Other non-exempt assets can be forfeited when you apply for Medicaid benefits, which is why you need to take steps to protect those assets long before you apply.
The Benefits of Hiring an Attorney When Filing for Medicaid
If you are applying for Medicaid, it could prove beneficial to use an attorney. Elder law attorneys understand how the application process works, what factors the government considers, and they make the process easier. All it takes is a missed document or error on your application to receive a denial, and the longer you delay unlocking the benefits, the harder it is on your family financially.
Some benefits to using an attorney versus doing it yourself or having a family member apply for you are:
Attorney’s Do Not Have a Conflict of Interest
Sometimes nursing homes will refer family members and residents over to a service that helps their potential clients apply for Medicaid benefits. These services are non-attorneys, but the preparer of that Medicaid application has a serious conflict of interest. After all, they are loyal to the facility referring patients to them and to the patient. Medicaid applications, to be successful, do not need conflicts of interest further complicating matters.
It is in the nursing home’s best interest that your Medicaid application gets approved, which is why they refer you to these services. But it is also in your best interest to take steps to protect your assets and make sure you get the care you need. An attorney cares about both of these, while preparation services are more concerned with pushing the application through as quickly as possible – regardless of what happens to assets in the midst.
An attorney has one loyalty owed: to the client. That means your attorney will work to first protect your assets and then help you with the Medicaid process so that the legacy you spent years building is not consumed just by filing an application.
You Could Save More Using an Attorney
A nursing home is an extensive cost. Some nursing homes cost thousands each month, but the fee from an attorney is often less than one month’s stay at a nursing home. When you consider the costs of paying for a nursing home or in-home care out-of-pocket while waiting for Medicaid benefits versus the cost of paying an attorney to help you apply, you will quickly see the savings add up.
Furthermore, an attorney will consult with you for little to no fees upfront. They will help you understand your rights and they can even explain how their service will benefit you and your family when applying for Medicaid.
Attorney’s Have Deeper Knowledge of the Medicaid Process and Experience Applying
You will apply for Medicaid once in your lifetime – maybe twice if you help a family member apply. Attorneys help individuals apply for Medicaid weekly. They go over the regulations and rules almost daily, advise clients on how to protect assets, and they can help family members preserve funds for loved ones while accessing Medicaid benefits.
Added Peace of Mind
When you use an elder law attorney, your attorney will advise you on your rights and your options for protecting your assets. Sometimes, there might be nothing you can do to protect your assets, but you still get peace of mind knowing you did everything you could ahead of time before filing your application.
Consult with an Estate Planning Attorney Regarding Your Medicaid Plan and Application
Before you file your application, sit down with a Medicaid attorney who can help review your assets, income, and see where you might be vulnerable. You may be able to protect some assets before you apply, and it is critical you know what rights you have and legal options to protect those assets. Failing to follow legal transfer rules could violate government regulations – something you do not want to toy around with when trying to get healthcare coverage from the government.
Talk with attorney Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C., today about your Medicaid application. He has helped countless seniors and their families apply for Medicaid, protect assets, and follow all laws so that they can unlock coverage for nursing home care. Schedule a free case evaluation now by calling 516-605-0625 or requesting an appointment online.