Federal Medicaid Eligibility
To be eligible for the Medicaid program, the federal government requires individuals to be:
- Citizens of the United States or lawful permanent residents.
- Residents of the state in which they are receiving Medicaid.
When examining Medicaid eligibility for people over 65 years of age, the recipient must meet criteria for:
To live in a care facility or receive at-home assistance, individuals must require assistance with at least two Activities of Daily Living — bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring, eating, and walking – due to a physical impairment or a combined physical/cognitive impairment.
In 2021, single individuals must have income less than $2,382/month to qualify for the program. Married couple incomes are generally counted separately, though a non-applicant can re-allocate some of the applicant’s income to enable receipt of benefits. In 2021, the maximum monthly maintenance needs allowance is $3,259.50/month. When both spouses are applicants, they are allowed up to $4,764/month.
Adding to the complication, applicants are subject to an asset test. Cash, savings, and secondary properties count toward a $2,000 resource limit per Medicaid applicant. Exempt assets include primary residence value, furnishings, one automobile, funeral/burial funds, and a life insurance policy.
New York Medicaid Eligibility
States are granted the flexibility to administer the program as they see fit, as long as it is within the scope of the federal guidelines.
New York Medicaid eligibility rules cover:
- Single Person Eligibility – In 2021, a single person has a resource limit of $15,900. Investments, cash in CDs, cash in life insurance policies, and secondary homes may need to be sold in order to qualify. Nursing home residents are only entitled to keep $50 of monthly income. Home care recipients can keep $904 of monthly income.
- Married Couple Eligibility – The non-applicant spouse can keep an allowance of $74,820 to $130,380 of the couple’s combined life savings. The non-applicant spouse is also entitled to keep $3,259.50 of the couple’s combined income. If the non-applicant has personal income above that amount, the Medicaid Agency will request a contribution of 25% of all income above $3,259.50.
Do I have to “Spend Down” to Qualify? – Generally, the answer is no, with proper planning. The Elder Care lawyers at Pierro, Connor & Strauss can explain which assets are factored into your Medicaid application and advise on exemptions and options to transfer certain assets that may or may not result in a penalty, while preserving as much as possible.
Nursing Home Medicaid – Watch our 30-minute Webinar HERE
When applying for Medicaid in a nursing home, the Medicaid Agency can look back at all bank statements and financial transactions within five years.
- However, there are many exceptions, which can be important for preserving life savings in a time of transition or crisis. Creating an irrevocable trust is one way to retain some assets including property and certain financial holdings.
- The earlier one plans with the help of an elder care planning lawyer, the better, as there is a penalty period of ineligibility for Medicaid coverage after a transfer is enacted. Even in crisis situations with immediate care needs, though, our attorneys can often help clients preserve a portion of their life-savings.
Community Medicaid (Home Care) – Watch our 60-minute Webinar HERE
- New rules going into effect on November 8, 2021 will require individuals to meet at least three medical criteria for assistance with activities for daily living — rather than two, as previously required. Other changes include an independent Assessor, Independent Physician panel to review applications, and an Independent Review if the elder or disabled person needs more than 12 hours/day of care.
- Guidance from the New York State Department of Health April 1, 2022, the State will be phasing in a new 30-month lookback window for the Community Medicaid program, which provides long-term home and community-based services. Seniors will want to start planning now to take advantage of favorable rules while they exist, and to avoid costly penalties or rejection of an application.
Seniors looking to retain their assets while also receiving assistance to pay the exorbitant cost of long-term care are invited to contact a Medicaid planning lawyer at Pierro, Connor, & Strauss, LLC for a free consultation. We proudly serve the New York City region, Long Island, Westchester, Hudson, Lake Placid and the Capital Region including Albany, Schenectady, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Columbia, Greene Counties and beyond with exceptional elder care planning services.