TRUTH: The Medicaid Estate Recovery Program (MERP) can make a claim after you pass for repayment of money it paid for benefits received during life. BUT MERP CAN ONLY RECOVER AGAINST PROPERTY PASSING THROUGH PROBATE. Any property which passes outside of probate – like bank accounts with pay on death provisions – is not subject to MERP.
Lady Bird Deeds pass the homestead outside the probate process and avoid MERP for the biggest resource most Medicaid recipients have at death.There are also exceptions for property passing by probate including:
TRUTH: Long Term Care Medicaid Benefits do have asset limitations, but significant resources can often be protected. Many items do not count toward the asset limitations, including:
A single person can have $2,000 in “countable resources”. With a husband or wife still at home, you can protect up to an additional $115,920 in countable resources. With both husband and wife in a facility, one can get Medicaid regardless of their available assets
TRUTH: Any person whose monthly income is insufficient for their care at a nursing facility can meet the income requirements. If your gross monthly income is over $2,130 in 2013, you will be denied Medicaid benefits unless you have a Qualified
Income Trust, sometimes called a Miller’s Trust. A Miller’s Trust works by making income not counted for eligibility purposes. The income deposited into the Miller’s Trust account is simply disregarded when determining eligibility. You still pay your applied income to the facility, but Medicaid will pick up the difference between the income and the cost of care – often thousands of dollars a month.
TRUTH: Medicaid will assess a transfer penalty for most transfers made for less than fair market value. Medicaid will start the penalty period on the first day of the month in which you have less than $2,000 in countable resources to pay the facility, though you will have to pay privately until the whole transferred amount is paid off.
Medicaid can look back for 5 years for transfers made without adequate compensation.
There are exceptions, including:
TRUTH: Long Term Care Medicaid and STAR+PLUS Waiver are work-based programs. In order to receive these types of Medicaid benefits, you must have paid into the system (either yourself or your spouse) and be eligible for a work benefit such as Social Security, Medicare, or Veteran’s benefits.
TRUTH: If you qualify for Medicare benefits, you can be eligible, even if you didn’t pay into Social Security, Railroad Retirement, or Civil Service.
TRUTH: If you are well enough to go home but still need help in the house, the STAR+PLUS Waiver program can help. STAR+PLUS Waiver is a program that can pay for some in-home health care and modifications to the home. STAR+PLUS can be applied for even if you don’t go into a nursing facility and get Long Term Care Benefits first, but there can be a wait list that way.
Townsend Allala & Associates is a full service Estate Planning & Elder Law practice. Bi-lingual in English and Español, they provide comprehensive planning in the areas of wills, trusts, powers of attorney, medical directives, advanced estate planning, probate & trust administration, probate avoidance planning, long-term care planning, Medicaid crisis planning, Veterans benefits, special needs trusts, disability planning and asset protection. Townsend Allala & Associates serves clients and their families all throughout El Paso, TX, Midland, TX, Odessa, TX and the surrounding areas, cities and towns.
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