Before we get into the subject that serves as the title this blog post, we need to provide some relevant background information. The most pressing elder law issue right now is the matter of long-term care and the costs that are associated with it. Over the coming years, this situation will affect millions of people that are not already feeling the impact.
This is because of the fact that the baby boomer generation is attaining senior citizen status. To give you an idea of the extent of the rapid, steady aging of the population, 10,000 to 15,000 Americans are becoming eligible for their Social Security benefits each and every day.
People that were born toward the tail end of the baby boomer years will not become eligible for another decade, so this is a situation that will persist into the foreseeable future. Once you become old enough to collect Social Security, there is a very good chance that you will need long-term care at some point in time.
Seven out of every 10 seniors will require living assistance, and 35% of them will ultimately reside in nursing homes. These facilities are extremely expensive, and Medicare will not pay for the custodial care that nursing facilities provide for their residents.
This situation should definitely be on your radar, and fortunately, we can help you implement an effective nursing home asset protection strategy. For many, Medicaid is the solution, because this jointly administered federal/state government program will pay for living assistance.
However, it takes careful planning to become eligible, because this is a need-based program that is intended for people with very sparse resources. You cannot qualify if you have more than $2000 in countable assets. We will closely examine the assets that are not counted in a future blog post.
People often give gifts to their loved ones to get assets out of their own names so that they can qualify for Medicaid coverage to pay for long-term care. This process is typically referred to as a “spend down.” Though it can be done, it takes careful planning because of the five-year look back period.
The powers that be do not want you to find out that you need long-term care today, give your assets to your loved ones tomorrow, and qualify for Medicaid next week. That would not be in the spirit of the program, so they have installed this look back period to prevent reactive divestitures.
All gift giving must be completed at least five years before you apply for Medicaid coverage. If you violate this rule, your eligibility is delayed. For example, if you gave away enough to pay for three years of nursing home care within the 60 month window, your eligibility would be delayed by three years.
Ohio Passport Waiver
Some people that need long-term care can receive the assistance that they need in their own homes. There is a program that is funded by Medicaid called the Ohio Passport Waiver. If you are 60 years of age and older, you may be able to qualify with this program, which would pay for the in-home care that you need.
Since it is less expensive than full-time residence in a nursing home, the qualifications for eligibility are somewhat less stringent than they are for full-blown Medicaid coverage. The government eases them to encourage people to go in this direction if possible.
Many if not most elders would prefer to remain in familiar surroundings, and the costs are lower, so this can be a win-win situation all the way around.
Attend a Free Seminar
You are invited to attend one of the upcoming seminars that are being held by our elder law attorneys at convenient locations in the greater Cincinnati area. There is no charge to attend these sessions, but we do ask that you register in advance, because space is limited. To do just that, visit our seminar schedule page and follow the simple instructions.
We Are Here to Help!
Our doors are open if you would like to discuss nursing home asset protection or any other elder law or estate planning matter with a knowledgeable attorney. We would be glad to get to know you, gain understanding of your objectives, and make the appropriate recommendations.
You can set the wheels in motion right now if you give us a call at 513-721-1513. There is also a contact form on this website that you can use if you would prefer to reach out electronically.