Helping Seniors & Families
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Feasterville, PA
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Doylestown, PA
215.345.5858

Are You Afraid of Losing Your Home When You Apply for Medicaid? Don’t Be

Medicaid planning Doylestown PA

A big concern among people moving into nursing homes is that they’ll lose their homes as they try to qualify for Medicaid.

It’s something we hear all the time in the world of Doylestown, and other Bucks County areas in  Medicaid planning, and it’s understandable that you might have this fear. No one likes the thought of the government or some giant nursing home chain swooping down to seize your house.

However, this fear is based on a misconception that potential nursing home residents have to automatically divest themselves of their homes in order to qualify for Medicaid.

In Pennsylvania, your home isn’t considered a countable resource by Medicaid if you plan to return to it after your nursing home stay.

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How to Apply for Medicaid

apply for medicaid pa

It’s a pretty common question: “How do I apply for Medicaid?”

And it’s actually fairly simply to apply for Medicaid. PA residents essentially just need to fill out an application and send it to their county assistance office.

While it’s a long form, it’s pretty straightforward. The question really isn’t “How do I apply for Medicaid?” It’s “How do I qualify for Medicaid?”

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The Gifting Season is Here: What to Know Before You Give

estate planning bucks pa

We’re thinking a lot these days about gifting, and not just because the holiday shopping season is upon us.

Gift giving is an act of kindness, a way to demonstrate our love and affection for people, but it’s also an essential tool in the world of estate planning.

What do we mean? Well, you might want to give away assets while you’re still alive so that they aren’t included in your estate and open to taxation after your death.

We understand this impulse. It not only makes financial sense, but you’ll get to see your loved ones enjoy your gifts. However, it’s important to think about the tax implications that might apply before you act.

Continue Reading The Gifting Season is Here: What to Know Before You Give

How to Prove that a Gift was not Made to Qualify for Medicaid

medicaid gifting rules

It’s important to understand the medicaid gifting rules. If you are admitted to a nursing home, you will usually want to qualify for Medicaid benefits as soon as possible.  However, even if you qualify in all other respects, if you have made a gift within five years of applying for Medicaid, you may not qualify. The PA Department of Human Services will penalize you one month of ineligibility for every $10,043.28 you gave away.

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Using a Prepaid Funeral Contract to Spend Down Assets for Medicaid

Meeting with an elder law attorney

No one wants to think about his or her death, but a little preparation in the form of a prepaid funeral contract can be useful. In addition to helping your family after your death, a prepaid funeral contract can be a good way to spend down assets in order to qualify for Medicaid.

A prepaid or pre-need funeral contract allows you to purchase funeral goods and services before you die. The contract can be entered into with a funeral home or cemetery. Prepaid funeral contracts can include payments for: embalming and restoration, room for the funeral service, casket, vault or grave liner, cremation, transportation, permits, headstones, death certificates, and obituaries, among other things.

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How Medicaid’s Look-Back Period Works

elderly transfer of assetsMedicaid’s look-back period can be confusing, but it’s important because it can have a very significant effect on your ability to pay for long-term care.

Unlike Medicare, Medicaid is a system that’s available only to people who have very few assets. As a result, the government is concerned that people will “game the system” by giving away all their assets to family members and then applying for Medicaid shortly afterward. That’s obviously not fair to the taxpayers who support the system.

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Your IRA Can Affect Your Medicaid Eligibility

Long Term Care PlanningWhen you are planning for Medicaid coverage in a nursing home, it’s important to take any IRAs you own into account.

Medicaid applicants can keep only a small amount of resources (usually $2,400) in order to be eligible for benefits. Certain resources may be exempt from this rule. Whether your IRA is exempt often depends on whether it is in “payout status.”

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Veterans Face New Limits On Long-Term Care Help

Senior Veterans BenefitsThe U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers a pension benefit to low-income veterans (and their spouses) who are in an assisted living facility or who need help at home with everyday tasks such as dressing or bathing. The program is called “Aid and Attendance.”

Unfortunately for many veterans, the government recently proposed new regulations that will tighten the qualification rules and impose a look-back period and transfer penalties similar to those under Medicaid. As a result of these changes, anyone who may be eligible for Aid and Attendance should probably talk to an attorney about how to proceed.

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Medicaid Helps Children Who Live With Aging Parents

children helping parentsIn Pennsylvania, if you give your home to your children (or to someone else) and then apply for Medicaid coverage in a nursing home, you may be ineligible for Medicaid for a period of time. You are required to spend down your resources on your own care before applying for Medicaid, rather than give them away.

However, there is an important exception that allows you to give your home to your child in certain circumstances.

Continue Reading Medicaid Helps Children Who Live With Aging Parents