Medical eligibility depends on financial need. To apply for Medicaid, your income and assets must be below limits set by the government.
To prove you are eligible for Medicaid, our Norton Shores elder law attorney can help you legally restructure your resources. Below, we explain what types of assets the government looks at when determining your eligibility for Medicaid.
The government looks at your assets and the assets of your spouse that lives with you. If you’re married, there are special rules that apply when only you or your spouse enter or live in a nursing home.
Countable assets include, but are not limited to:
- Cash, saving accounts, and checking accounts
- Real estate (other than your home)
- More than one vehicle
- Boats and recreational vehicles
- Stocks, bonds, and mutual funds
- Credit union shares, draft accounts, and certificates of deposit
- Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA)
- Nursing home trust funds
- Prepaid funeral contracts that are cancellable
- Revocable living trusts
- Tax deferred annuities
- Mortgages and land contracts
- Promissory notes
- Cash value of life insurance policies
“Unavailable” assets are not counted toward your limit because you either don’t have the legal right to use or dispose of the asset or the asset can’t be sold in the current market. Our Medicaid attorney can help you provide evidence that an asset is unsalable. To prove that an asset can’t be used toward your limit, you’ll need to obtain statements from two different reputable sources.
If you own real estate, you must attempt to sell the property at a price not more than its fair market value. If you receive no reasonable offers within 90 days, our attorney will be able to help you apply for Medicaid. Keep in mind that joint property may be considered “unavailable” if you can prove the other owner refuses to sell.
Exempt & Non-Countable Assets
Exempt (also called non-countable) assets aren’t included in your limit and include:
- A home (with equity of $572,000 or less)
- Personal belongings and household goods
- One vehicle
- Burial spaces and related items
- Up to $1,500 designated as a burial fund for you or your spouse
- Irrevocable prepaid funeral contract
- Value of life insurance if face value is $1,500 or less
- Assets which you and your spouse do not have the legal right to dispose
- Assets you have not been able to sell
Jointly Owned Assets
Any jointly-owned countable cash assets are counted toward your limit. The only exception would be if you can prove that a portion of the funds belong to the other owner. In this situation, you and the other owner’s share is the amount both parties own. If you have assets with equity value, you and the other joint owner are considered to have an equal share unless the document of ownership says otherwise.
For jointly owned real estate, including property held as joint tenants with full rights of survivorship, the applicant’s interest in the property is considered an available resource unless the sale of the property would cause an undue hardship to another co-owner. Undue hardship means that the co-owner uses the property as his or her primary residence and would have to move if the property was sold.
Our Norton Shores Medicaid attorney has experience helping clients just like you apply for Medicaid to pay nursing home costs. To schedule your consultation with Medicaid attorney Douglas H. McPhail, call (231) 799-4994.