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At Upchurch Law, we work daily as a liaison between clients and the Florida Department of Children and Families in order to assist clients in obtaining Medicaid benefits when a client or their loved one is in need of assisted living facility or nursing home care. We assist clients with every step of the Medicaid application process, including the completion of the Medicaid application and the allocation of their assets so that they will not adversely affect their Medicaid eligibility.
If you are private or self-paying for either yourself or for a loved one, you should contact our office immediately to find out if Medicaid can reduce or eliminate this financial burden.
Medicaid is a dual federal and state program that aids older and/or disabled persons to obtain government assistance for a variety of personal needs.
In Florida, Medicaid eligibility for long-term nursing home care is based on the assets and income of the Medicaid applicant, as well as the assets and income of the Medicaid applicant’s spouse.
To qualify for Medicaid, you need to meet three categories of requirements.
The Medicaid applicant must be a citizen or resident alien of the U.S., and must have medical needs requiring nursing home placement, or must be physically or cognitively impaired to the degree that nursing home placement is required.
The Medicaid applicant’s gross monthly income cannot exceed $2094.00 (effective Jan. 1, 2012). The Medicaid applicant’s well spouse or “community spouse” has no limit on their gross monthly income.
The Medicaid applicant cannot own countable assets in excess of $2,000.00 in addition to exempt and countable assets. The Medicaid applicant’s well spouse may retain up to $113,640.00 (effective Jan. 1, 2012) in assets plus exempt, non-available and income-producing assets.Contact Florida Medicaid Attorney Thomas Upchurch for a Free Consultation.
If you have any questions about the Medicaid system, we urge you to contact us at (386) 320-6169 to schedule a free 30 minute telephone consultation. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll gladly respond to your inquiry.
Home and Hospital visits are available.
The following strategies from a Florida Medicaid attorney are just some of the various options available to help protect an individual’s assets when confronted with the high costs associated with long term care. The amount various plans can potentially preserve vary on a case by case basis.
Through a personal service contract that a Florida Medicaid attorney can explain, the institutionalized spouse may hire a family member or designated individual to perform certain tasks on an “as needed” basis. This essentially compensates and reimburses family members for all the hard work they take on in taking care of their institutionalized loved ones.
This planning technique offered by a Florida Medicaid attorney is most viable for a community spouse who is over the community spouse asset cap of $113,640. Such an annuity must be irrevocable, actuarially sound and designate the State of Florida as the 1st beneficiary. Such an annuity can supplement the community spouse’s monthly income and provide financial security going forward.
Irrevocable trusts are most commonly used as a pre-planning vehicle. The advantages of implementing a plan using an irrevocable trust is the settler can continue to derive income from their assets. The main drawback to using an irrevocable trust is the settler gives up the right to access the principal.
Gifting is the giving of assets to a designated individual. A Florida Medicaid attorney wants potential medicaid applicants should be aware of the potential consequences a gift can have on their eligibility for Medicaid. Gifts are considered an uncompensated transfer and if made during the look back period will result in a penalty period.
Spend Down Method
Certain assets are exempt and therefore permitted by Medicaid. It is important to know what these assets are and how to take advantage of them. Taking advantage of these exempt assets is the first recommendation when crafting a suitable long term care plan.
Exempt assets may be owned by either the community spouse or the institutionalized spouse and are not calculated when determining an applicant’s available resources. The following are some of the exempt assets not counted when determining Medicaid eligibility for Florida’s Institutionalized Care Program.
As long as the institutionalized spouse has intent to return home, the applicant’s residence is not calculated as long as they have less than $500,000 in equity in the home. The applicant’s ability to return home is not evaluated. If a spouse, minor child or disabled child resides in the house, the applicant may have unlimited equity in the home.
Whole life policies with a face value of $2,500 or less are exempt. The Department of Children and Families will review the cash surrender value and any cash surrender value in excess of $2,500 will be counted towards the applicant’s permissible resource allowance. Two motor vehicles are exempt. One regardless of age or value and the second one must be over seven years old.
Both the Medicaid applicant and their spouse may have an irrevocable burial, funeral or cremation policy regardless of the amount.
If there is no life insurance policy, the applicant and their spouse may have a designated $2,500 burial fund.
One wedding band and one engagement ring are exempt for both the Medicaid applicant and their spouse. Other personal property is also exempt as long as it isn’t valuable art or jewelry.
Our law firm represents clients throughout Central and North Florida including Volusia, Flagler, St. Johns, Duval, Putnam, Lake, Seminole and Orange counties. Cities include: Daytona Beach, Port Orange, Deland, Ormond Beach, Palm Coast, Jacksonville, Orlando, Saint Augustine and New Smyrna Beach. If you have any questions about the Medicaid system, we urge you to contact us at (386) 320-6169 to schedule a free 30 minute telephone consultation. In the alternative, you can email us at email@example.com and we’ll gladly respond to your inquiry. Home and Hospital visits are also available.