FLORIDA – December 7, 2020
Medicaid is a program designed for people with low income and limited resources, requiring an income and asset limitation to show benefit eligibility. For Medicaid purposes, a married couple’s assets are considered jointly owned. To minimize the assets of the applicant, and to allow eligibility for Medicaid benefits, a certain amount of assets can be transferred to the community spouse without penalty.
Federal laws allow applicants to seek assistance from legal professionals regarding the filing of Medicaid applications, and appeals for benefits denials. As part of estate planning, a lawyer in Stuart may assist families with a restructure of assets to meet certain Medicaid eligibility requirements. Elder law attorneys guide individuals through the Medicaid waiver application process by answering questions and collecting supporting documentation.
Married couples may request assistance from elder law attorneys when one spouse is applying for nursing home, or assisted living care based on the use of a Medicaid waiver. Financial information must be provided to prove that the individuals are not above a certain asset level. The spousal impoverishment rules are federal Medicaid regulations that are supposed to prevent non-applicant spouses from becoming poverty-stricken in order for their applicant spouses to qualify for long-term residential care. Before Medicaid established the “spousal impoverishment protection” in 1988, non-applicant spouses of nursing home Medicaid recipients were commonly left with financial uncertainty and unable to support themselves. Under the Medicaid Spousal Impoverishment provision, a certain amount of the couple’s combined resources and income belonging to the institutionalized spouse (the MMMNA) can be transferred to the community spouse and protected for the community spouse’s use, enabling the community spouse to continue to live independently without causing undue hardship.
Protections and amounts.
Medicaid asset protection trusts prevent individuals from Medicaid ineligibility by gifting assets prior to the look back period. This allows the protection of assets for spouses to ensure they can live independently. Furthermore, MAPTs protect assets, including a home for relatives upon the death of the Medicaid recipient, because this type of asset is protected. A gifting strategy can reduce an applicant’s named assets, while at the same time, protecting family members. Medicaid elder law attorneys can guide these actions to make certain legal avenues are considered within this process
- Certain dollar amounts are left for personal needs and those amounts effective for 2021 are:
- Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance (MMMNA) will be 2,155.00 for Florida, with a maximum of 3,259. and Community Spouse Monthly Housing Allowance of 646.50.
- Home Equity Limits range from a minimum of 603,000.00 to a maximum of 906,000.00. Individuals who seek Medicaid eligibility for long term care should speak to an attorney regarding restrictions.
Seek legal counsel to address questions and concerns regarding Medicaid eligibility for long term care avenues in Florida. Contact an experienced attorney at The Estate, Trust & Elder Law Firm, P.L. in Stuart Florida to assist with questions regarding means testing, legal trusts and other variables that will affect eligibility.
The Estate, Trust, & Elder Law Firm, P.I.
850 NW Federal
Stuart, FL 34994
by Appointment Only