| Read Time: 4 minutes | Medicaid

An elderly thinking about housing allowance after discharged from nursing home.Receiving healthcare through a Medicaid-funded program can make a huge difference in your well-being, but qualifying for assistance can leave you with questions about how to pay for your other needs. Housing is one of those needs.

As New Yorkers know, figuring out how to pay for housing in this great state can be a constant concern, especially on a fixed or limited income. If you were recently released from a nursing home paid for by Medicaid, but you still need help taking care of yourself, you might be asking, How can I get a housing allowance after being discharged from a nursing home? You have several options to help you pay for home care and housing. The article below can help you understand your options.

Why Would I Need a Housing Allowance After Being Discharged from a Nursing Home?

If you have already applied for Medicaid, you know that the eligibility requirements are tough. Medicaid recipients who need nursing home care can keep only $50 per month to pay for their personal needs. This is very little money, but at least nursing home care under Medicaid includes healthcare, housing, and food. Ultimately, the goal of many nursing home residents is to return home, even if they need regular assistance to care for themselves.

If you’re a Medicaid recipient who recently left a nursing home but still needs home care, you know paying for your housing can be complicated. Medicaid recipients cannot earn much money if they want to maintain their benefits, and New York is the state with the third-highest cost of living in the country. However, you don’t have to despair in this situation, because you have housing allowance options. An experienced New York Medicaid legal matters attorney can help you identify your best option for receiving necessary care while living well.

You Can Apply for a Managed Long-Term Care Plan and Qualify for a Special Income Standard

Your first option for paying for housing while receiving home care through Medicaid is to qualify for a special income standard. The special income standard increases the income limits for Medicaid eligibility so you can hopefully earn/keep enough money to pay for housing after a nursing home discharge. To qualify for the increased income limit, you have to enroll in a Managed Long-Term Care Plan.

You Can Place Your Money and Assets in a Trust

If you place your assets in a trust, sometimes they don’t count toward the income limits for your Medicaid eligibility. Assets you can put in a trust for Medicaid purposes include:

  • Cash,
  • Liquid assets,
  • Personal property, and
  • Real property.

For individuals who want to establish a trust and maintain Medicaid eligibility, pooled trusts or special needs trusts can be good options. The assets in either trust don’t count toward your Medicaid eligibility limit. Payments made from either trust to a third party for housing or other basic personal needs don’t count toward your eligibility limit. However, distributions made directly to you from the trust do count toward the limit. Also, these trusts have to have certain characteristics before you can take advantage of the eligibility exceptions.

Special Needs Trusts

Special needs trusts are for people who have been certified as disabled and are under 65 years old. A special needs trusts that doesn’t count toward Medicaid limits must also have the following characteristics:

  • It has to be created using the disabled person’s own assets;
  • The disabled person, a parent of the disabled person, a grandparent of the disabled person, a legal guardian of the disabled person, or a court has to create it; and
  • It has to state that when the disabled person dies, the trust will pay the remainder to the state, up to the amount the state paid for the disabled person’s Medicaid.

Another name for this trust is a supplemental needs trust. Your Medicaid legal matters attorney can determine if this is the best way to address your home care and housing needs.

Pooled Trusts

Pooled trusts are for people of any age who are certified as disabled. A pooled trust that doesn’t count toward Medicaid eligibility limits must have the following characteristics:

  • A non-profit association establishes and manages it;
  • It maintains separate accounts for each person involved;
  • Its separate accounts are pooled for management and investment purposes;
  • The disabled person, their parent, their grandparent, their legal guardian, or a court establishes each separate account for a disabled person; and
  • It states that when the disabled person dies, the remainder not retained by the non-profit organization goes to the state, up to the amount of Medicaid paid for the disabled person.

With a trust, you give someone else control over how to spend your money. Also, this kind of trust can prevent you from passing on assets to your heirs. In light of this, you want to be sure this option works best for you.

Contact a Lawyer to Get What You Need and Make the Most out of Your Assets

Applying for Medicaid benefits is normally a complicated process. Also, a grant or denial of Medicaid benefits can have a significant effect on your life. It’s ok if you feel overwhelmed by the process, the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C., is here to help. Andrew M. Lamkin is an experienced estate planning and Medicaid legal matters lawyer. He can help you develop a plan to get you the benefits you need and protect your assets. Andrew puts you first to protect your health and personal needs. Contact our office online, or call us at 516-605-0625 for a free consultation.

Author Photo

Andrew Lamkin is principal in the law firm of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C., where he focuses his practice in the areas of elder law, estate planning and special needs planning, including Wills and Trusts, Medicaid planning, estate administration and residential real estate transactions. He is admitted to practice law in New York and New Jersey.

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