If you are concerned that you or a loved one will need long term nursing care, it is important to start planing now. Skilled nursing facilities are quite expensive if you pay privately. There are federal and state benefits, known as Medicaid, that will pay for your long term care in a skilled nursing facility. The Massachusetts Medicaid program is called MassHealth. However, in order to qualify for MassHealth benefits, there are several requirements that must be met.
One major requirement for MassHealth eligibility is the asset limitation. In order to qualify for MassHealth, you must have under $2,000 in countable assets. If you need to enter a nursing home and have more than $2,000 in countable assets, you must pay privately until you “spend down” your estate.
When spending down your estate, you cannot give away you assets. In the application you must provide your bank statements from the last five years. If you have made any gifts over $1000 in that time period, you will have to explain why the gift was made. If you cannot account for where money went, MassHealth will assume it was a gift. For approximately every $9000 that you give away during that five year look back period, you will be ineligible for MassHealth for one month. If a gift was made, it can be fixed by giving it back to the applicant and spending it down according to MassHealth rules.
What is a gift according to MassHealth? Unfortunately, most assets transfers that are not for the benefit of the applicant are considered gifts. Here are some examples of gifts:
These are just a few examples, and there are many other assets transfers that are considered gifts. If you have questions regarding whether you or your loved one have made asset transfers that will cause an ineligibility period for MassHealth, please contact to Lauren Miller at 508.620.4565 or at email@example.com.
This article should not be construed as legal advice. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult with an attorney concerning your own situation and any specific legal questions you may have.
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