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What are exempt assets for purposes of Medicaid eligibility?

On Behalf of | Jun 24, 2020 | Medicaid Eligibility

People grow older. It is a fact of life that’s not always easy to accept. As time marches on, the people we know and love grow older, their lives change and their physical needs change. People’s bodies do not work the same way they did when they were younger and some people develop disabilities that require significant medical treatment and a level of care that cannot be administered by their spouse or family members.

In these situations, people may need to go to a nursing home or other type of long-term care facility or potentially have home care in their homes. This type of care can be very beneficial, but it is also expensive. One way that people may be able to afford this level of care is through Medicaid. However, in order to receive Medicaid people must meet certain requirements, which can be met through effective Medicaid planning. These include age, income and asset requirements.

The income and asset requirements can be complicated and depend on if the person is married or not. There are limits on how many assets people can own, but certain assets are exempt from being counted as an asset for Medicaid financial eligibility purposes. Some of these assets are listed below:

For home care Medicaid, one’s home can be exempt as long as the person resides therein. The equity limit on the home is $893,000 though.  For Institutional Medicaid, one’s home may be exempt if their absence is not permanent and they “intend to return home” or they have a spouse, a child under 21 years old or a blind or disabled child living in the home is exempt. One car is also exempt. Money kept in an Irrevocable  trust for funeral expenses is exempt, as well as a life insurance policy that is valued at $1,500 or less. The value of retirement accounts which are in “pay status,” meaning the applicant is taking their required minimum distribution are also exempt. Household goods including jewelry, heirlooms, furniture and other personal effects are also exempt.

People in New York may accumulate a variety of assets throughout their lives. These can be important to the person, but they can also make them ineligible for Medicaid. However, there are various ways that people can plan for Medicaid and ensure that they meet the asset requirements. Experienced attorneys understand the requirements and may be able to guide one through the process.