Applying for Long-Term Care Medicaid Benefits? Eligibility requirements changing in 2012

Applying for Long-Term Care Medicaid Benefits? Eligibility requirements changing in 2012

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have announced some key changes in qualifications for Medicaid long-term care benefits. The following changes will take effect January 1, 2012:

Changes in income criteria:

Applicant's income: The applicant will now be able to retain  monthly income up to $2094 (was $2022.) However, if the applicant has excess income, our Florida Certified Elder Law Attorneys can establish a Qualified Income Trust (also known as a Miller Trust) that will help the applicant qualify for benefits, assuming he or she meets all other criteria.

Spouse's income:  Theres is no limit on the spouse's income. However, if the spouse's income is below $1838.75 (was $1839), a portion of the applicant's income may be diverted to the spouse.

Changes in asset criteria:

Applicant's assets:  Applicant may not have countable assets in excess of $2000 (unchanged from 2011).

Spouse's Assets:  The well spouse may retain up to $113,640 in countable assets (was $109,560).

Change in homestead equity limit: Applicants may have no more than $525,000 in equity in their homestead property (was $506,000).

If you are seeking Medicaid benefits to pay for the cost of a loved one's long-term nursing care, you should know that there are legal strategies that can often make someone eligible, even if he/she has excess assets or income, or the spouse has excess assets. Contact our Florida Medicaid Attorneys for advice. We can often help preserve a good portion of the family's assets, even if the applicant is already in a nursing facility.

Attorney Joseph S. Karp is a Florida Bar Certified and Nationally Certified Elder Law Attorney focusing on Elder Law, Probate, Estate Planning, Asset Protection, Special Needs Planning and Estate Litigation. He is AV rated by Martindale Hubbell. Mr. Karp is the founder of The Karp Law Firm, a South Florida law firm with offices in Palm Beach Gardens, Boynton Beach and St. Lucie, Florida.  Mr. Karp was named a 2011 SuperLawyer by SuperLawyer Magazine and a member of the 2011 Florida Legal Elite by Florida Trend Magazine. He is admitted to practice law in New York as well as Florida. Visit Mr. Karp's Florida Elder Law and Estate Planning website. 

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