Serving Cambria, Somerset, Bedford & Blair Counties

Elder Law

Medicaid and Nursing Home Planning

What is Elder Law?

Elder law focuses on the legal needs of senior citizens or disabled individuals. This often involves combining estate planning with complex issues such as asset protection and Medicaid planning.

Elder Law FAQs

Medicaid is a federal and state program that pays nursing home costs for senior citizens and disabled individuals. It is a “need based” benefit, so your assets must be limited to qualify. This can present a stressful situation for people, especially married couples, who are concerned about spending all of their hard-earned assets on nursing home. Medicaid does not cover personal care or assisted living homes – these facilities provide a lower level of care and greater independence for their residents. To qualify for Medicaid, you must require custodial care and assistance with your activities of daily living such as bathing, toileting, dressing, eating, and transferring from bed to chair. Generally, you must receive this care in a nursing home to qualify for Medicaid. However, there are some limited cases where you can remain at home and still receive Medicaid under a state waiver program.

It is essential that Medicaid planning begin as soon as possible once admitted to a nursing home. We have several goals in Medicaid planning:

  • Limit money spent on care by qualifying for Medicaid as soon as possible
  • Protect assets and income for a spouse at home
  • Preserve a future inheritance for family
  • Ensure that the Medicaid recipient can continue to receive necessary care

Emergencies can happen that require nursing care when you least expect it. However, it is also important to be proactive. There are many strategies that can protect your assets from future long-term care costs, including Irrevocable Asset Protection Trusts and asset transfers. These options require advance planning before nursing care is imminent. Whether you are in crisis mode or planning for the future, our office is here to help you navigate these complex issues. It is also important to include your financial advisor and accountant in this discussion.

Have Elder Law Questions?

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Our Attorneys Practicing in this Area

Timothy M. Ayres
Lauren Cascino Presser