Planning for the future can seem overwhelming, as we don’t know what the future will bring. As we have discussed previously on this blog, Medicaid can be a great resource for those who may find themselves in need of long-term care down the line. However, not everyone qualifies for this government program because of its income restrictions. Those who have too much income will be deemed disqualified. Although that may seem like a black-and-white restriction, there are legal steps that can be taken to lessen one’s “countable” income so that he or she can be rendered qualified to receive Medicaid benefits.

When it comes to home healthcare benefits through Medicaid, there are four steps that an individual can take to better ensure that he or she qualifies. First, an individual will need to apply for benefits, even if he or she knows that his or her income is too high. Home healthcare through Medicaid allows these individuals to qualify for benefits, they are simply charged for their healthcare until their income is spent down to the income maximum for qualification purposes.

The next step involves enrollment in a supplemental needs trust. This trust is typically made up of pooled resources from individuals and managed by a non-profit organization that focuses on caring for people who suffer from disabilities. There is a lot of paperwork and restrictions on these trusts, so it may be best to discuss the matter with a qualified attorney.

The third step is merely to notify the Medicaid office of enrollment in the supplemental needs trust. The fourth and final step is to wait for the Medicaid office to re-budget one’s benefits to show that spend down is no longer necessary. At this point, the recipient will stop being charged for home healthcare.

Medicaid planning can be complex but necessary endeavor. New Yorkers who wish to develop a strong plan to better ensure that their future healthcare needs are met should think about speaking to a qualified estate planning attorney.