Applying for Medicaid can be a complex process, especially for someone who is not familiar with the program. There are many factors that can disqualify you from receiving benefits. If you are depending on those benefits to pay for your healthcare expenses, you may not be able to afford any delays.
Even if you are usually a do-it-yourselfer, hiring an experienced elder law attorney to assist with your Medicaid application can prevent you from making costly mistakes. Here are a few reasons why the team at Slutsky Elder Law would recommend hiring an attorney to assist you with your Medicaid application.
You Can be Disqualified Based on Your Income and Assets
Your income and the value of your countable assets are major factors in deciding whether or not you will be able to receive Medicaid benefits. Of course, you can’t spend that money on just anything; improperly spending down (both how you spend down and when you complete the spend-down) can cause denials of benefits or delays in eligibility.
Speaking to an attorney can help you develop a spend-down strategy that will get you qualified sooner and leave your loved ones with more resources. More important an experienced elder law attorney can help you structure your assets in a way that allows eligibility while retaining more value.
Avoid Medicaid Penalties
Did you know you could be subject to Medicaid penalties if you spend down incorrectly? For example, if you make any monetary gifts or asset transfers at less than the fair market value during the 60-month lookback period prior to your application, you could be disqualified from receiving Medicaid benefits for a period of time that can last from days to years.
An elder law attorney can help you identify any factors that could result in a penalty and, just as importantly, help you either avoid or reduce any penalties.
Timing is Crucial
As we mentioned, a Medicaid penalty could prevent you from receiving benefits for a number of months; however, if you time your application correctly, it may not be an issue. Since nursing care can cost $12-17,000.00 per month (or more for 24 hr. care in the home) in SE PA, delays can be devastating to your financial security.
When you speak to an attorney, you can inform them of any asset transfers or cash gifts you have made recently and plan the timing of your application accordingly to avoid being penalized. Further planning and implementing spending down is somewhat of an art. Spending down too soon can be as damaging to your finances as spending down too late.
Qualifying for Medicaid Long-Term Care Has Additional Requirements
While Medicaid does cover some long-term care expenses like in-home care and long-term care provided in a nursing facility, you will need to demonstrate a clinical need for those services to qualifying. An elder care lawyer can help you gather the necessary documentation to prove your need for long-term care services and prepare and manage the application process correctly.
Finding an Elder Law Attorney
If you are applying for federal and state Medicaid benefits, it makes sense to speak with a Medicaid attorney in Montgomery County, PA. Elder law attorney Rob Slutsky has been advocating for the legal needs of seniors for almost 30 years and he can assist you with your Medicaid application or with any other elder law needs you may have.
With offices in Montgomery County, Chester County, and Delaware County, PA, and zoom consultations available, it is convenient to get the legal advice you need no matter where you live in the area.