There is an upper resource limit of $2000 that you must stay within if you want to become eligible for Medicaid as a way to pay for long-term care. This figure may seem so small that there is no reason to even consider the possibility of eligibility.
In fact, about two thirds of the people who are residing in nursing homes and assisted living communities do rely on Medicaid to pay for their care. This is because all of your assets do not count toward this $2000 limit. Your home, your vehicle, and other valuables are not countable.
And, if you needed to enter such a facility your spouse could keep his or her portion of your shared assets up to $113,640 (as of this writing).
To prevent people from finding out that they need to enter a long-term care facility one day and then giving away assets the next there is a five-year look-back period. If you start to “spend down” within five years of applying for the program your eligibility will be delayed.
We now have a proposal being introduced into the United States Senate that would impose a look-back period of three years on veterans who are applying for the Veterans Aid & Attendance special pension. This program provides a monthly benefit to qualified veterans who need living assistance.
The upper resource limit for this program is $80,000, and right now there is nothing to stop someone from placing resources into a trust or passing assets along to family members in an effort to qualify for this veterans benefit.
It will be interesting to see how this proposal is received and we will certainly be keeping an eye on the matter.
Should you be interested in exploring your options with regard to paying for long-term care, simply take a moment to arrange for a consultation with a seasoned, savvy South Carolina elder law attorney.