6 Steps To Protecting Your Assets From Nursing Home Care Costs
The basic rule is that all your monthly income goes to the nursing home, and Medicaid then pays the nursing home the difference between your monthly income, and the amount that the nursing home is allowed under its Medicaid contract. Medicaid also allows a few other exceptions.
In answer to the question of how much money can you keep going into a nursing home and still have Medicaid pay for your care, the answer is about $2,000. Gifting your assets to someone else may not protect it and may incur penalties when applying to Medicaid.
How to Protect Your Assets from Nursing Home Costs
Will my spouse in the nursing home lose their income? The short answer is yes, they will lose most of their income. When your spouse enters a nursing home that is paid for by Medicaid, he or she is only able to keep a small part of their monthly income. This is called a Personal Needs Allowance (PNA).
The general rule is that if a senior applies for Medicaid, is deemed otherwise eligible but is found to have gifted assets within the five-year look-back period, then they will be disqualified from receiving benefits for a certain number of months. This is referred to as the Medicaid penalty period.
If your name is on a joint account and you enter a nursing home, the state will assume the assets in the account belong to you unless you can prove that you did not contribute to it. This means that either one of you could be ineligible for Medicaid for a period of time, depending on the amount of money in the account.
You will still get your Basic State Pension or your New State Pension if you move to live in a care home. However, if your care home fees are paid in full or part by the local authority, NHS or out of other public funds, you may have to use your State Retirement Pension to pay a contribution to the cost of care.
A living trust can protect assets from a nursing home only if the trust is irrevocable. An irrevocable trust can provide asset protection because with this type of trust, the grantor — the trust creator — doesn’t own assets in the trust from a legal standpoint.
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Your assets are not protected from Medicaid in a revocable trust because you retain control of them. The primary benefit of a revocable trust is that you can name a beneficiary who will receive payouts from the trust after your death.
You may have up to $2,000 in assets as an individual or $3,000 in assets as a couple. Some of your personal assets are not considered when determining whether you qualify for Medi-Cal coverage.