Nursing home care and other long term care costs are skyrocketing across the nation. Many are worried about what their options will be moving forward and the fears associated with not being able to provide medically for their families are growing too. Others fear they will have to “spend down” their assets in order to qualify for government benefits and what many don’t know is that it’s not always necessary. In fact, understanding the process and the reasoning for the various rules is your first step to better protection for your family.
A solid, experienced estate planning lawyer can guide you through the overwhelming maze of qualifying for Medicaid. In the process, our clients learn they can protect their homes and other assets, which is always a burden lifted.
There are certain legalities that must be put into place, including the establishment of an irrevocable trust so that property and assets can be safely and legally transferred.
We’ve all heard of the various eligibility factors, too. Medicaid has very specific guidelines and our team of elder law attorneys stay current with various changes in the qualification and eligibility rules. Perhaps what’s most intimidating is the so-called 5 year look back period. It’s simply an investigation the government conducts on applicants to ensure there have been no efforts of hiding assets in the previous five years. If it’s found that an applicant has hidden or given away assets, he may face a penalty.
This is just one of the worries many lose sleep over. Many clients are unsure of how and when they can qualify for Medicaid. There are always a host of questions our clients have and below, you’ll find a couple of those questions. As always, we encourage you to contact our office for a consultation that can help put those worries to rest. We have provided the answers and guidance for thousands looking to qualify for Medicaid in New York.
What is Medicaid?
Simply stated, Medicaid is a government program put into place to ensure everyone has access to healthcare, regardless of a lack of money. In order to qualify in New York, you must receive Supplemental Security Income, or SSI as it’s known, meet specific financial requirements and you must have high medical bills.
What must I present when applying for Medicaid?
If you have a social security number, which you should have if you are a U.S. citizen (born in the U.S. or one of its territories), the Social Security Administration will use that to verify your identity, date of birth and citizenship. If it is unable to do so, you will need to provide proof of naturalization since the Social Security Administration will not be able to verify your birth information. In those instances, you’ll also likely be required to provide a birth certificate, proof of your age and proof of citizenship or immigration status.
You will need to provide the four most recent paystubs from your job if you are employed, proof of any income from SSI, Veteran’s Benefits, retirement, unemployment, child support and any others you may be asked to provide. You’ll need to verify your address by presenting rental receipts, proof of your mortgage of an envelope from another source showing your name and address.
If you have any type of insurance, you’ll need to provide that as well and your Medicare Benefit Card.
The most important thing to remember is that the rules shift and evolve. It’s both important and difficult to stay current on these changes. With our team of Medicaid lawyers, it’s one worry that won’t cause you to lose sleep.
The Law Offices of Barton P. Levine is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.