When a spouse, family member or parent needs help, finding the right support and advice is crucial to making smart decisions. Talking to an experienced elder law attorney can make all the difference. 

The compassionate and knowledgeable attorneys at Cottrell Law will work with you to protect your loved one’s best interests. Whether you need help with estate planning, medicaid issues, probate administration, Medicaid planning, long-term care needs, asset protection or other related legal issues, our firm is here to get through the complexities and help you find solutions.

Sometimes change strikes without warning. If you or a loved one has experienced a sudden illness or serious accident, you understand how abruptly everything can change. Are you or a loved one suddenly in need of nursing home care? Finding and affording quality care on short notice can be stressful and draining. We can help you determine the best options for care and how to qualify for Medicaid to help finance them.

Long-term care is expensive, and these costs only continue to increase. In Michigan, the annual cost of care may double in the next 20 years. With improved medical care, the average life span of adults continues to increase — translating into more years of care at increasingly higher costs. Without some financial assistance, these costs represent a potential hardship. In fact, your entire life savings could be quickly depleted within a few years of needing long-term care. This is where Medicaid can help.

A joint federal and state program, Medicaid aims to assist those with low income and limited resources. While Medicare provides very limited long-term care coverage, Medicaid is considerably more extensive. However, because of its restrictions, qualifying for Medicaid can be extremely difficult. But paying for a nursing home without it could be all but impossible.

Although Medicaid requirements vary from state to state, they all share one common element: complexity. Each state specifies a maximum allowable income for individuals and couples in order to qualify for Medicaid. Also, the applicant’s total assets cannot exceed a specified amount called the Individual Resource Allowance, which is often less than $2,000. Although certain possessions, like your home and automobile, are exempted for purposes of determining eligibility, this figure is still alarming. For an applicant who is married, the process becomes even more complicated.

What can you do if the value of your non-exempt assets exceeds the allowable amount? If you give your extra assets away, which seems like an obvious choice, you will encounter greater problems. Violating this transfer penalty rule could disqualify you from receiving Medicaid for months or years, depending on how much you gave away.

If your need for nursing home care is immediate, time is not something you can afford to lose. Why? If you wait too long and your non-exempt assets fall below the maximum limit, then the applicant’s spouse can only keep half of what is left, based on the Minimum Community Spouse Resource Allowance. 

This is only a brief and oversimplified review of a few Medicaid rules, of which there are myriad more. Navigating them on your own could be a nightmare at best and subject you to penalties at worst. Fortunately, though, our experienced professionals can guide you through the Medicaid maze. We can advise you throughout the application process, ensuring that you retain the maximum income and total assets allowed by law.

Seek appropriate counsel before you apply for and seek to qualify for Medicaid. We can give you and your family peace of mind during a difficult and uncertain time. When dealing with Medicaid, legal advice is something you cannot afford to go without.

For more information about elder law and Medicaid from the attorneys at Cottrell Law, please contact us here or call us directly at 616.560.3843.