If you haven’t heard of Medicaid Planning, let us give you a brief introduction. Medicaid Planning is an elder law practice area that helps prepare individuals to meet Medicaid qualifications in the future, so that the cost of long-term nursing care doesn’t drain everything they’ve worked so hard to save over the course of their lives. Long-term nursing care isn’t cheap—it can quickly exhaust even ample savings accounts, sometimes in a matter of months.
Where long-term nursing care isn’t cheap, qualifying for Medicaid isn’t easy. There are strict income requirements that must be met in order to become eligible for Medicaid. Those requirements vary from state to state, but here in Georgia, monthly income can not be higher than $2,250, with an asset limit of $2,000 and a home equity limit of $572,000. And there are dozens of other nuances and loopholes that may impact your Medicaid eligibility.
To help individuals meet Medicaid requirements, elder law attorneys—like us—offer Medicaid Planning services, designed to decrease an individual’s assets and improve the chances that they will meet the state’s stringent Medicaid qualifications, should they need long-term nursing care. This, of course, raises some ethical questions and is the subject of a heated political debate.
One side of the debate presents the argument that, if an individual works hard, scrimps, saves every penny, foregoes vacations in order to build an estate that can be passed down to their children and grandchildren…then everything they’ve worked so hard for should not have to be drained in a matter of months if they need long-tern nursing care. Because for every one of these hardworking individuals is the person who spent money like it was nothing, traveled the world, saved very little, and now easily qualifies for Medicaid.
However, the flip side of this debate is that, if a person is wealthy enough to hire an elder law attorney for Medicaid Planning services, then why should the government pay for their long-term nursing care?
There was a great New York Times article, written by Ron Lieber, that did a great job of presenting both sides of the Medicaid Planning debate. Read, ‘The Ethics of Adjusting Your Assets to Qualify for Medicaid,’ to dive deeper into the ethical questions that Medicaid Planning has posed.
There are plenty of elder law firms that may be practicing in a gray area of Medicaid Planning. That is not the case at the Estate Planning Law Group of Georgia. We help clients prepare to apply for Medicaid and decrease their assets in a way that is ethical. We never want to see a client sacrifice their integrity to access government benefits they truly don’t qualify for. That being said, we are here to answer your questions about how you or a loved one can become qualified for Medicaid long before nursing care is needed.
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