Medicaid Planning

2018 North Carolina Medicaid and Special Assistance Rates

Here is a quick rundown of the current Medicaid and Special Assistance Rates in North Carolina as of January 1, 2018. Some other areas of this website may provide different numbers – these are the current and updated rates as of May 2018. Thank you to Bob Mason for compiling this information in this original post. Medicaid Monthly divisor: $6,300 (eff 12/1/11 – remains effective as of 1/1/18) Community Spouse Resource Allowance (effective 1/1/18) Minimum $24,720 Maximum $123,600 Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance (effective 7/1/17) Base $2,030 Shelter Standard $609 Standard Utility Allowance $374 Dependent Allowance $677 Special Assistance Base […]

Will Medicaid Count My IRA as an Available Asset When Applying for Long Term Care Benefits for My Spouse?

medicaid count retirement

A frequent question we get is to what extent Medicaid will count retirement accounts, such as IRA’s and 401(k)’s when one spouse is applying for long-term care benefits on behalf of their spouse who requires skilled nursing care. The simple answer is that yes, Medicaid does count your retirement account assets when you are applying for benefits on behalf of your spouse. However, there are some (rare) exceptions to this rule. Here is what the NC Medicaid Manual says about how to count retirement assets: “Exclude a retirement account if the funds cannot be withdrawn in a lump sum payment. […]

How to Pay for an Assisted Living Facility in North Carolina?

assisted living facility in North Carolina

While many North Carolina Seniors cannot live independently at home, they still do not need the round the clock care that a skilled nursing facility provides. For these individuals, an assisted living facility may be the best option. An assisted living facility will allow the residents to live independently, but still provide some assistance where necessary. The typical cost of an assisted living facility in North Carolina is anywhere from $3,000 to $7,000, which is much lest than the average cost of a skilled nursing home. However, even though assisted living is not as expensive, Medicaid will not pay for […]

What is the Timeline to Apply for Medicaid and Spend Down Assets?

timeline to apply for medicaid

One of the most commonly asked questions I get is “what is the timeline to apply for Medicaid and do the spend down?” In other words, once we have a plan in place, how does this whole process work? There are basically 5 stages to the process of applying for Medicaid. Here’s a quick overview: Pre-planning Find and move into a facility Begin spending down assets Apply for Medicaid Get approved Clients who come to see us for what we call “crisis planning” are typically in one of the first 3 stages, although it’s possible and highly likely that they […]

Yes, Medicaid Can Deny Your Application for Failure to Provide Sufficient Financial Documentation

Medicaid Denials

In case you were thinking that you would file for Medicaid, and they wouldn’t ask you for any financial information to verify your application… think again. In December, a New Jersey appeals court upheld the denial of Medicaid benefits because the applicant did not provide sufficient financial verifications. P.B. v. Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services (N.J. Super. Ct., App. Div., No. A-5405-15T2, Dec. 8, 2017). Here are the basic facts of this case: P.B.’s daughter filed a Medicaid application on her behalf. The state Medicaid agency requested additional information about P.B.’s bank accounts, life insurance policies, and housing. The daughter […]

How to Pay for Nursing Home Care in North Carolina

Paying for Nursing Home Care

One of the harsh realities of life is that if you live long enough, at some point you may need move into a long-term care facility, otherwise known as a “skilled nursing facility”. The cost of these facilities can be downright crippling to most families. At a typical cost of between $6,500 to $10,000 per month ($78,000 to $120,000 per year), a lifetime of savings can be lost in just a few short years at one of these facilities. As a result, one of the most common questions I get from potential clients and my trusted referral partners is simply […]

What is a Ladybird Deed?

Ladybird Deed in North Carolina

North Carolina is one of a handful of states that allows individuals to use Ladybird Deeds to protect their personal residence. But what is a Ladybird Deed anyway, and how do you know if you need one? One of the best ways to explain a Ladybird Deed is to use a simple hypothetical. The Story of Bill and Mary Bill and Mary are an elderly couple. Bill is 75 and has survived several heart attacks. Mary is 77 and has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Many years ago, Bill and Mary drew up what are commonly called “sweetheart wills”. This […]

Medicaid Crisis Planning: A Case Study

Three p's of estate planning

Many people falsely believe that if they or their loved one has to enter a nursing home unexpectedly (after an acute event such as a stroke, an accident, a heart attack, etc.), that they have no choice but to spend down all of their assets (typically on nursing home care) before they can qualify for Medicaid. This couldn’t be further from the truth. When something like this happens, an elder law attorney can assist with what is called “Medicaid Crisis Planning“. The goal of Medicaid crisis planning is simple, to protect as many assets as possible while at the same […]

Are You Draining Your Entire Life Savings to Pay for a Nursing Home?

nursing home poverty

Stop me if you have heard this before. You have a spouse or parent with Alzheimer’s or Dementia. Maybe they are the victim of a stroke, Parkinson’s, or MS. Perhaps they had a heart attack and are recovering. They went to a rehab and now Medicare is paying the tab. But rehab is no longer working and it is time for them to move to a skilled nursing facility. For a variety of reasons, you are unable to care for them at home. Perhaps their medical needs are too great. Perhaps you are unable to assist them with the activities […]

Why Spend Down Doesn’t Necessarily Mean “Spend Down” for Medicaid Purposes

Medicaid Spend Down

Over the past several weeks, I’ve been meeting with a lot of Nursing Home Administrators and Social Workers. For many people who are applying for Medicaid to pay for Long Term Care costs at a Skilled Nursing Facility, the staff at the nursing home is the front line of information on what they should and shouldn’t be doing as they apply for Medicaid. For many applicants, a Medicaid “Spend Down” is necessary so that the applicant will qualify for benefits. But what is and what isn’t a Medicaid Spend Down? Many people who I talk with don’t fully understand what […]