Applying for Medicaid: The Risks Taken When an Elder Law Attorney Is Not Used

White Plains, NY (Law Firm Newswire) May 1, 2014 — The assistance of an elder law attorney when applying for Medicaid is essential to make sure that your interests and assets are protected.

Many people think of Medicaid as a service that is only for the poor, but it has also become the default method for many people to pay for long-term care, such as one receives in a skilled nursing facility. There are income and asset limits that need to be met to be eligible for Medicaid, but there are legal strategies that can be used to protect some assets. However, these strategies have many complexities, and it is risky to attempt the process without the assistance of an experienced elder law attorney.

People who apply for Medicaid on their own or with the assistance of a hospital facilitator or geriatric care manager may make an error that puts their assets at risk or causes a penalty period of ineligibility to be imposed. A qualified elder law attorney can implement a plan that will result in the best possible protection of one’s assets while avoiding penalties and guarding against having Medicaid attempt to recover the cost of care from one’s estate.

One risk that Medicaid applicants face is posed by engaging in improper transfer of assets, which can cause a penalty period to be imposed, during which Medicaid will not pay for care. An attorney experienced in Medicaid matters will know how best to protect assets without incurring penalties.

Many people have heard that they must “spend down” assets in order to qualify for Medicaid. It is true that asset and income requirements must be met, but it is crucial to have qualified legal advice on the best avenues for securing Medicaid eligibility. For instance, many assets are exempt from the requirements, some can be legally transferred to certain trusts, and certain spousal rights apply.

Another potential risk is that the Medicaid program will attempt to recover the cost of care from one’s estate after death. Attempting the process alone or with bad advice may bring bad results. A qualified elder law attorney can advise you of the exceptions to transfer-of-assets rules that may be available to you to help you protect your home and other assets.

To learn more, visit http://www.elderlawnewyork.com/

New York Contact:
Maria M. Brill
Littman Krooks LLP
(914) 684-2100
mbrill@littmankrooks.com

New York City Office
655 Third Avenue, 20th Floor
New York, New York 10017
(212) 490-2020 Phone

Westchester Office
399 Knollwood Road
White Plains, New York 10603
(914) 684-2100 Phone

Dutchess Office
300 Westage Business Center Drive, Suite 400
Fishkill, NY 12524
(845) 896-1106 Phone

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