What Are Medicaid’s Asset Rules?

by | Dec 8, 2020 | Elder Law |

The Medicaid requirements may appear like an additional indignity when entering an assisted living facility or placing a loved one in long-term care. The majority of the remaining money you have left is liquidated before that Medicaid initiates. Medicaid is administered by the state, which means that some of New York’s rules and guidelines may differ from other states. 

How Medicaid treats spouses

It is a common case that one spouse may need to enter a nursing home or assisted living facility while the other may not have that current need. In this case, there are exceptions for what assets that spouse can retain. A spouse that isn’t receiving Medicaid benefits is called a community spouse and can keep half the couple’s joint assets up to a limit of $128,640. This limit is the amount the state allows without a court mandate.

The division of real property

The death of a Medicaid recipient can begin an estate recovery. This process is the state’s attempt to recover the cost of care from any remaining property. For many recipients, their primary asset is a home. Here are some of the ways a home could be protected from this kind of recovery:

  • The property included in an estate recovery would include those covered under a will or in the case of intestacy.
  • If the property passes through a lifetime trust to a beneficiary, that property may not be subject to estate recovery.
  • Revocable living trusts don’t initiate Medicaid penalties and could be a valid form of property transfer.
  • A supplemental needs trust (SNT) can be set up for a person with special needs to provide a secure financial asset for that person while still allowing them to receive Medicaid benefits.

Protecting your loved ones’ future

The laws guiding Medicaid regulations are ever-changing in their complexity. If you can anticipate that you or someone close may need to receive Medicaid benefits in the future, it is important to begin planning for that outcome.