More than 65 million people currently receive Medicaid. So, you probably know someone who has applied for Medicaid benefits. At least 21% of Medicaid recipients fall into the 46+ age group. It’s this group – and their families – that could benefit from the advice of an elder law attorney.
Some Elder Law Basics
Just like many other professionals, lawyers often specialize in areas like:
- Estate planning,
- Family law,
- Business law,
- Litigation, and
- Elder law.
Attorneys who focus on specific practice areas offer clients more experience and training in those areas. For example, you would contact an estate planning attorney to draft your Will. But a lawyer who handles personal injury litigation is better equipped to handle your car accident claim.
Some specialties, including elder law, actually cover a broad range of concerns.
Elder Law Attorneys and Their Clients
Some of those concerns relate more to an age group than a temporary situation. Attorneys who specialize in elder law may help their clients with:
- Medicaid asset protection planning,
- Estate planning that applies to their unique needs,
- Elder abuse,
- Long-term healthcare issues, and
- Medicaid and other government benefits.
Some elder law attorneys may focus only on specific senior-related issues. For example, many seniors find they need to enter long-term care facilities to enhance their quality of life. Paying for this care can be difficult or even impossible without long-term care insurance or government benefits.
Applying for Medicaid: Necessary, Yet Confusing
Most government programs have complex restrictions and a complicated application process. Medicaid is no exception. Someone who has already guided people through the system has the knowledge to offer the wise counsel you need.
For example, experienced elder law attorneys understand:
- Countable income. Medicaid uses a variety of income limits for its programs but does not count all But the rules may be difficult to apply to your situation.
- Countable resources. Your assets must total less than $2,000 per month for a single person for most programs. Yet, not all of your property counts toward this limit.
- The 60-Month Look Back Period. Medicaid looks at your financial records for the 60 months prior to the date you applied for benefits. If you transferred or sold property during this time, Medicaid could delay your benefits.
- Marital status. Income and resource limits are different based on your marital status. Also, an elder law attorney will offer advice on avoiding spousal impoverishment.
- Spending down assets. You may be able to meet income and resource limits by careful spending. However, your lawyer can help you avoid some pitfalls.
- Special programs. Some Pennsylvania residents may qualify for Community Based Services or Medically Needed Only Medical Assistance.
One final note: elder law attorneys know and empathize with the unique needs of our most vulnerable citizens. That extra touch can take some of the edge off the challenging situations our seniors and their families face.
An Elder Law Attorney Has What It Takes to Handle Elder Law Issues
Not all Medicaid recipients need elder law attorneys. People of all ages may qualify for one of the programs offered by Medicaid. However, older Americans and their families should consider asking an elder law attorney for help when applying for benefits.
Attorney Robert Slutsky was one of the first lawyers in Pennsylvania to focus on elder law issues. Since 1992, he has helped countless people successfully apply for Medicaid.