Aging Options

Medicaid spend down doesn't have to mean what you think it means

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If you have too many resources to qualify for Medicaid, you will need to spend down those assets to become eligible.  The obvious way to spend down those assets is to pay for nursing home bills or other medical bills using those assets until you’ve reduced your savings to the point that you’re eligible to qualify for Medicaid.  Yet another way however is to convert those countable assets in such a way so that they benefit allowable assets. 
  • For example, Medicaid considers a car an allowable asset regardless of value as long as the car is used for the benefit of the applicant’s transportation.  One solution would be to consider trading vehicles in and getting a larger or newer vehicle or possibly one modified for the applicant.
  • Funeral expenses are an allowable expense so it makes sense for an applicant to use current assets to pay for funeral expenses rather than leaving it to the family to take care of later.  If an applicant is married, the spouse’s funeral expenses as well as other members of the family can also be included.
  • If you have a second car for instance one possible solution is to sell that car to pay down a mortgage or make home improvements such as a new roof or updated kitchen.  Even an addition might be added onto the house if the addition makes it possible for a caretaker child to move in. Rather than improving the home, consider buying another more expensive home especially if it is  one that meets your needs more adequately such as closer to your children’s homes or friendlier for someone to age in place.
  • Consider upgrading towels, sheets, televisions or other personal property that is not included in the eligibility requirements.

The benefit of these options is that although the money is spent, it is spent to benefit you or your family.  Planning before acting is VERY important.  Make sure you talk to an elder law attorney before making any potentially costly Medicaid moves.

Note:  There’s no single one answer, no simple solution for what is right for everybody.  Even if you are eligible for Medicaid or VA Benefits, it’s important to take a look at the needs of the individual and make a determination as to whether it makes sense for you (or your loved one) to claim benefits or to look elsewhere for a solution.  The aim of using those benefits is to maximize the quality of life for the beneficiary and that will not be accomplished by using the same solution in every case.  Contact a professional to help you determine what is the right road map for your case.

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