Many people who have disabilities are not capable of earning much income so a significant percentage of Americans with special needs qualify for Medicaid coverage. Clearly, health insurance is quite important to these individuals so Medicaid coverage is invaluable. There are other types of assistance available for both individuals with disabilities and seniors. Let our Ballantyne elder law lawyer explain these different resources and how they can work for you.
Medicaid, SSI, and Special Needs Trusts
Medicaid is a jointly run federal/state government health insurance program. It is a need-based program, so eligibility is determined based on income and asset levels. There is another government benefit called the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. If you can meet the requirements with regard to financial need, this program can provide you with a modest source of ongoing income. Supplemental Security Income is also something that many people with disabilities rely upon.
Special Needs Trusts
If a person who was receiving Medicaid and SSI benefits was to receive a large direct inheritance through the terms of a last will, his or her financial status would improve considerably. As a result, government benefits could be lost, because these are need-based programs.
There is an estate planning solution that is often implemented to preserve Medicaid and SSI benefits. Special needs trusts are often utilized under these circumstances. These trusts are also called supplemental needs trusts. When you create the trust, you name a trustee to handle the trust administration tasks. The loved one who is receiving government benefits would be the beneficiary of the trust. Let our Ballantyne elder law lawyer help you set up the appropriate trust.
Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income may not be enough
Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income will not necessarily cover all of the needs of the beneficiary. The needs that are not covered by government benefits are referred to as supplemental needs.
The trustee can use assets that have been conveyed into the trust to provide for the supplemental needs of the beneficiary. Because of the nature of these expenditures, government benefit eligibility is not jeopardized. We should emphasize the fact that the beneficiary cannot directly control the actions of the trust.
When you create a special needs trust for the benefit of a loved one with a disability, you are improving his or her quality of life without jeopardizing government benefit eligibility. In this post, we have provided a very basic explanation, but you would probably like to learn more if you have a loved one with a disability.
Medicare and Nursing Home Care
When you are looking ahead toward your senior years, you should think pragmatically. Clearly, you are not going to be especially anxious to consider a time when you may require nursing home care. This is understandable, but a challenging situation could be all the worse if you take no steps in advance to prepare for nursing home costs.
Many people are unconcerned because they are under the impression that Medicare will pay for nursing home care. In fact, Medicare is not set up to handle custodial care expenses. The program will pay for part of up to 100 days of convalescent care after a three-day hospital admission, but it does not pay for living assistance. The majority of senior citizens are going to need help with their day-to-day needs at some point in time, and nursing home care is extremely expensive.
The solution recommended by Ballantyne elder law lawyer
If most people will need nursing home care, it is very expensive, and Medicare won’t pay for it, what’s the solution? Our Ballantyne elder law lawyer recommends, for most people in nursing homes, exploring eligibility for Medicaid benefits. This is a government program that will pay for long-term care, but you do not automatically qualify if you need living assistance as a senior citizen. It is a need-based program, so you have to fit within asset and income limits.
However, if you are married, your spouse can maintain ownership of a considerable store of resources without impacting your eligibility for Medicaid coverage. If you discuss everything with a licensed elder law attorney, your lawyer will become apprised of your situation, evaluate your objectives, and help you devise a plan that works for you and your family.
Elder Law Consultation
If you would like to take things a step further, our firm would be glad to assist you. We can answer your Medicaid planning questions and help you put a plan in place if you are ready to move forward.
If you have questions regarding Medicaid, Medicare, SSI, Special Needs Trusts or any other estate planning matters, please contact the experienced attorneys at The Potter Law Firm for a consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us at (704) 944-3245 (Charlotte, NC) or for individuals in Kentucky at (606) 324-5516 (Ashland, KY) or at (859) 372-6655 (Florence, KY).
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