Frequently asked questions about Elder Law
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Frequently asked questions about Elder Law:
Transferring your assets may not be a good idea if you may soon need health care assistance. Why? Because Medicaid rules have gotten stricter in recent years – and, in keeping all your options open, you don’t want to jeopardize your eligibility to receive it.
Even if you never planned to qualify for Medicaid – federal financial assistance for people with very few assets – with the boom of graying baby boomers, Medicaid has quickly become a major source of payment for long-term care expenses: It currently covers roughly half of all nursing home residents in the country ... once the high cost of care wipes out their assets. Planning ahead with the help of Kearns & Kearns can help prevent losing the assets you were saving for your loved ones.
A look-back period is the timeframe Medicaid looks back and examines your financial transactions – bank accounts, property, real estate, investments, debts, sources of income – to see whether or not you meet their eligibility requirements for benefits. In 2006, federal legislation (the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005) increased Medicaid’s look-back period to 60 months (5 years); they start looking back over the previous five years from when you apply for Medicaid benefits.
What are they looking for? Assets that you have transferred or gifted within this 60-month period that reduced your assets in order to meet the Medicaid asset limits. There are penalty periods if you have done this. You may find yourself in a situation where you now have no money to pay for care and you are not eligible to receive Medicaid benefits when you need it.
How can you predict five years ahead of when you’ll need nursing care so that you can transfer your assets to loved ones before then? You can’t. Make your plans sooner than later. Kearns & Kearns’ elder law attorneys can help you set up strategies to protect yourself, your family, your assets, your potential care needs, your choices, and everyone’s future. We’ll help you to look back without regrets, and to look ahead with peace of mind.
There’s no problem, if you have the assets to pay for it. However, if you don’t, be aware that Medicaid provides limited services for care in the home.
Connecticut Home Care Program for Elders (CHCPE) pays for a maximum of 30 hours of home care per week. Will that be sufficient to meet your initial and future needs?
A new pilot program in Connecticut, “Money Follows the Person” (MFP), provides for care in your home, but only after a mandated 6-month stay in a nursing home and a spend-down to the Medicaid asset limits.
Let a compassionate, experienced Kearns & Kearns attorney help you feel comfortable and well-informed about the plans you make for your future.
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