Gathering the Documents Needed When Applying for Medicaid Can Be Overwhelming

When you become financially eligible for Medicaid, the next step is to apply and it’s generally a straightforward process.  You fill out an application with basic information about yourself and submit it to the county Job and Family Services (JFS) where you currently reside.

However, the next steps are crucial and can become overwhelming.

Be prepared to send JFS current financial statements of every account you and your spouse own, along with income verification from every source of income received by you and your spouse. Technically, JFS can require you to provide 60 months (five years) of statements because of the “five-year-look-back” period. This is because JFS will want to know whether you transferred or gifted any assets to someone else before applying for Medicaid.

In addition to all the financial records, JFS wants to ensure you are a citizen and verify what medical insurance you receive. These documents include, but are not limited to, State IDs, Social Security cards, Medicare cards, Medicare Supplement cards, birth certificates and marriage certificates.

Navigating this process can be mind-boggling and working with an experienced Elder Law Attorney can ensure financial eligibility and take the stress off of you when applying.  The attorney will tell you exactly what documents you will need and handle the application process with JFS, saving you the hassle of organizing what could be hundreds of pages of documents.

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Hickman & Lowder Presents Elder Law Talks, Do I Need a Will?

Hickman & Lowder Co., L.P.A. is excited to present its new Elder Law Talks series. We will regularly be sharing short videos to help you expand your awareness, reduce your stress and redefine what is possible as you advocate for your loved one.

This week’s episode: Do I Need a Will?

In our first episode of Elder Law Talks, Attorney David Banas addresses the one question he is asked every time he meets a potential client ..

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The Nursing Home Said I Don’t Need a Lawyer to Apply for Medicaid. What Do I Do?

I work collaboratively with dozens of nursing home and assisted living facilities when clients need to apply for Medicaid. I find facility staff to be some of the most Medicaid-knowledgeable people in the world, but I’ve also seen too many cases where families relied on the facility to guide them through a Medicaid application, and big problems arose.

Applying for Medicaid is not exactly rocket science, but it is fraught with pitfalls and traps that can have devastating financial implications for families.  It would be hard to list all the possible issues that could come up, but at this time, it will take the County at least 60 days to reach a decision regarding a nursing home Medicaid application. With the recent COVID-19 pandemic, some Medicaid applications are still not decided after nearly six months. This means that if something wasn’t completed correctly during the application process, or a bank account was missed or income not correctly calculated, a denial could be issued six months after filing, making the family potentially liable for $50,000 + in nursing home bills.

To avoid complications, like the one above, I encourage anyone going through the Medicaid application process to contact an experienced elder law attorney to see if they can help.  When families contact me, for example, they can expect that I will work collaboratively with the facilities to ensure that the facility’s financial interests are protected, but not at the expense of my clients.  I enjoy taking the burden and anxiety away

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Medicaid Planning May Be Most Beneficial for Those with Little Savings

It’s common for me to speak with families about Medicaid planning, and often, the idea of such planning is immediately dismissed as unnecessary because Mom and Dad “only” have $50,000 in savings, a house and a car. The family assumes that since there is only $50,000 in liquid assets to spend down, they need to spend that as quickly as possible to obtain Medicaid eligibility.  What they don’t know is that when assets are relatively low, financing long-term care with the Medicaid program is more about protecting the healthy spouse that’s living in the home than securing payment for the ill spouse’s nursing home.

Let’s say Dad has a stroke and needs to go into a nursing home, and Mom remains healthy, but her income is only $1,100 per month from social security. Instead of spending the $50,000 on Dad’s nursing home until it’s depleted below the Medicaid asset limit, we can design a plan that allows Mom to keep the home, the car and about $25,000 in cash while using the other $25,000 to benefit her by paying off the car, the mortgage or putting a new roof on the home. The point is that everything the couple owned when Dad went into the nursing home, with good planning, can be utilized for the benefit of Mom as she lives at home in the community.

Mom would also be entitled to enough of Dad’s income, in addition to her own $1,100 of Social Security, to ensure she has enough

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Can I Be Paid for Caring for My Elderly Parent?

Taking care of an elderly parent – even providing necessary supervision – can be the only thing keeping Mom or Dad out of assisted living or a nursing home.  But providing that care can be a full-time endeavor for the caretaker, often requiring significant, life-changing decisions about their own income and living arrangements.  The Medicaid rules are set up to encourage family members to take care of their loved ones in the community if possible (thus preventing Medicaid from paying for nursing home care).  To that end, Medicaid permits caretaker children to be compensated for taking care of Mom or Dad in two ways.

Medicaid considers any transfer of money for less than fair market value to be an “improper transfer,” or a gift.  This means if Mom gives $10,000 to Daughter without getting anything in return, and then Mom needs to apply for Medicaid, a penalty period will be assessed because of the gift.  But if Mom and Daughter enter into a Care Contract together, where it is agreed that Daughter will provide certain personal care services to Mom, such as general transportation, scheduling, housecleaning, laundry, cooking, shopping, and bathing, Mom can pay for these services without penalty because Mom is receiving value in return for the payment.  How much Daughter is to be paid on an hourly basis depends on the level of care Mom requires, and some consideration ought to be given to the fact that there is a family relationship and that some of the care

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The Importance of an “Elder Law” Power of Attorney

With technology and innovation creating access to the legal world easier than ever before, it is common for me to see a power of attorney that someone downloaded from the Internet that is ineffective in dealing with matters related to aging and securing long-term care.  Prior to Ohio’s adoption of the Uniform Power of Attorney Act, every attorney drafted their own, unique power of attorney document.  This created problems with financial institutions finding deficiencies in the language of the document, causing the financial institution to refuse to honor the power of attorney.  When a person needs to use a power of attorney, it is usually because the person that granted the power of attorney is incapacitated and may not have the capacity to grant a new power of attorney.  Even after Ohio adopted the Statutory Form Power of Attorney, which provided a uniform model for these documents, there are issues that the elderly face that are not addressed in Ohio’s form or are often not executed properly.

For instance, the Statutory Form states that there are actions that require express authority, like creating a trust, making a gift, creating or changing rights of survivorship or beneficiary designations.  The statutory form states, “unless expressly authorized and initialed by me in the Special Instructions, this power of attorney does not grant authority to my agent to do an of the…” actions mentioned above.  That means if your mother has a stroke and is admitted to a nursing home, even if you

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