Contact us for help today

New York Elder Law (Medicaid) Attorney

One of the most important issues we all need to consider is whether the financial plans we have in place will enable us to get the care we need as we get older and require increasing assistance with daily living. Depending on the level of care required, annual costs can easily exceed $100,000. This amount would quickly dissipate the assets of many individuals. 

Fortunately, Medicaid programs can help cover some or all of the costs of eldercare. However, these programs have certain financial eligibility restrictions. Careful planning is required to help individuals and couples ensure their eligibility without incurring costly penalties. A New York elder law (Medicaid) attorney from Chaves Perlowitz Luftig LLP can help you with the planning process.

As one of the most highly respected estate planning firms in New York, the attorneys of Chaves Perlowitz Luftig LLP have extensive experience assisting clients with their Medicaid planning needs. Our attorneys take the time to evaluate all options and potential challenges that may come up in your case so that we can adopt forward-thinking solutions that will best serve you. We’ll work hard to help ensure you can get the care you may need in the future while protecting your assets for your loved ones.

If you or your family need legal advice and assistance with Medicaid planning, contact the elder law firm of Chaves Perlowitz Luftig LLP for a free initial case evaluation. Learn more about how our firm can help you establish your Medicaid eligibility and protect your assets and estate. 

What Is Medicaid Planning?

Medicaid planning refers to the process of arranging your assets to help ensure that you qualify for Medicaid benefits. Medicaid benefits can help elderly individuals get the financial resources they need to pay for long-term care, such as home health care, assisted living, or nursing home care.

Many people may have too much income or too large an estate to qualify for needs-based Medicaid benefits. In addition, simply trying to transfer assets out of one’s estate can lead to significant penalties under the five-year lookback rules. Medicaid planning is designed to legally reduce the size of your estate to allow you to take advantage of Medicaid benefits for long-term elder care.

What an Elder Law Attorney Can Do for You

An elder law attorney can assist you with various aspects of the Medicaid planning process, including:

  • Advising you regarding your care plan options, including the benefits you may be entitled to from Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid
  • Helping you with estate planning to preserve your assets from being spent to fund long-term or nursing home care and to help you reach financial eligibility requirements for benefit programs under Medicaid or Social Security
  • Identifying and developing estate planning structures, including preparing irrevocable trusts or exempt transfers of assets
  • Identifying and pursuing options to help you become Medicaid eligible if you suddenly find yourself in need of long-term or nursing care and have not yet engaged in Medicaid planning, such as preparing gifts and promissory notes to help you spend down your assets to reach eligibility thresholds
  • Drafting and filing Medicaid benefits applications on your behalf, including collecting and organizing documentation to establish financial eligibility as well as medical need
  • Representing you and advocating for your rights and interests during hearings and appeals of application denials to fight to get you the benefits you need through the rest of your life

Have a Question About Your Case? Call Us Today:

Care Plans for Elders

Elderly individuals can take advantage of two government-run care plans. Medicare provides health insurance for senior citizens and certain disabled individuals. Medicaid coverage pays for routine health care, acute care, and rehabilitation. Medicaid also covers long-term care for elderly individuals with permanent illness, injury, or disabilities, who can meet the financial requirements under Medicaid rules. 

Elder and Special Needs Law

New York has a Community Medicaid program that enables older New Yorkers to pay for assisted living or nursing home-level care while remaining in their homes. Individuals may be deemed eligible for the program if they currently have non-exempt assets of $15,900 or less. Exempt assets include prepaid funeral/burial funds, life insurance with surrender values of $1,500 or less, retirement accounts where only minimum distributions are taken, and a primary residence of up to a certain maximum value. 

Applicants may also earn up to $884 in monthly income, according to income allowances in 2021. Any income over that limit can be directed to an income trust that can help pay for household expenses. Eligibility determinations also look back at your transfers of assets over the prior 30 months. Unless an asset is transferred according to strict guidelines, the asset’s value is added back into the applicant’s estate.

Eligible applicants include individuals 65 and older who can demonstrate that they require assistance with activities of daily living, including dressing, bathing, feeding, or moving around. The Community Medicaid program will then provide financial benefits equal to the number of hours of home care needed by an applicant for assistance with certain activities of daily living they cannot perform on their own. 

These hours may depend on the activities for which assistance is required. Certain activities that take place throughout the day, such as ambulating or using the toilet, may result in a maximum award of hours. 

Elder Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security Planning

Elderly individuals may want to engage in estate planning to protect and preserve assets from being used to pay for long-term nursing care as they age. Options that you may have as part of the planning process include placing assets in irrevocable trusts or pouring your income into trusts to help you reach the financial limit needed to become eligible for Medicaid and other government benefits that will pay for long-term care services. You may also choose to gift assets as a means of reaching the financial eligibility limits. However, there are special rules that you must follow to ensure you comply with all applicable rules and do not jeopardize your eligibility for Medicaid or other benefits.

Long-Term Care Plans

If your condition precludes you from continuing to age safely at home, you will likely need to seek institutional long-term care through an assisted living facility or a nursing home. While Medicaid can help cover the costs of long-term institutional elder care, the eligibility requirements for such benefits differ from those of the Community Medicaid program. 

An applicant cannot have non-excluded assets with an aggregate value of more than $15,900. If the applicant is married and their spouse is not receiving care, their assets cannot exceed $130,380. Any income over $50 earned by the applicant must go towards paying for their institutional care. However, if the applicant is married, the spouse not receiving care can take and use a portion of their income.

For institutional care, Medicaid instead uses a five-year lookback period for transfers of assets. Any assets transferred by other than eligible means are added back into the applicant’s estate, and for every $13,834 added back in, Medicaid will impose a one-month penalty on benefits. 

Private long-term care insurance plans can sometimes help to pay for long-term care. An elder law lawyer can discuss this option with you.

Elder Daycare Plans

Medicaid planning may also prove useful for someone who is considering using an elder daycare facility. 

While these communities have historically been private pay only, more and more communities are beginning to accept residents who pay through Medicaid. These independent living facilities tend to fall within the scope of the Community Medicaid program.

What to Consider When Making a Long-Term Care Plan

When starting the process of Medicaid planning to help ensure you can get the long-term care you need when you need it, you should consider the following issues:

  • Where you expect to receive care – New York has separate programs for home-based care and institutional care, which have different asset and income limits. You should determine whether you plan to age in place in your home for as long as possible, or whether you will need to go straight into a nursing home or assisted living facility when you begin to require assistance with activities of daily living.
  • Whether you have existing estate planning already in place – While you may have made estate planning arrangements earlier in your life, you may need to make changes to these plans as you approach retirement. You may need to alter your existing estate planning documents to protect and transfer your assets to ensure your eligibility for Medicaid benefits.
  • The assets in your estate and who you wish to leave them to – What you want to do with your estate after you pass may affect your Medicaid planning options. You may have the ability to transfer assets to loved ones as part of the process of reaching Medicaid eligibility.

Get Help From Chaves Perlowitz Luftig LLP

When you need help with Medicaid planning to get the benefits you need for long-term care, contact the elder law attorneys of Chaves Perlowitz Luftig LLP today for a free, no-obligation consultation. Don’t wait to learn more about your legal rights and options for protecting your assets and estate from the high cost of long-term care by securing Medicaid benefits.

Schedule a Free Consultation

Fill out the form below to set up a case review with one of our attorneys at no cost.

Questions? Call us (212) 791-3747 request a Callback
Chaves Perlowitz Luftig LLP