Nov
24
2009
0

Assets which are exempt or not counted for Medi-Cal Qualification

     Certain assets are generally exempt, or not counted, for Medi-Cal eligibility. The following is a partial list of exempt assets. There are, of course, rules affecting each of these items. As a result, please consult your elder law attorney.

  • One automobile is exempt for qualification. Many people think that if they have two cars, they have to sell one to become eligible. This is not true. The second car is counted as an asset, and the value is determined by the Medi-Cal eligibility worker.
  • Whole life insurance policies are exempt, provided that they do not have more than $1500 cash in value.  If they do, you must transfer the asset, cash it in, or take other steps to lower the value. Be sure your durable power of attorney has the appropriate elder law/asset protection language in it to accomplish this, in the event you lose the ability to accomplish this yourself.
  • You can have term life insurance in any amount.  
  • You can transfer monetary assets into an irrevocable final expense trust. This is a good planning technique to lower cash assets for Medi-Cal qualification. When the recipient passes away, the funds can be used at any funeral home in any state. Funds not used are subject to Medi-Cal recovery. Another advantage is that part of the family’s concern about burial plans is taken care of ahead of time.  
  •  IRAs, pension funds and work related annuities are exempt. Medi-Cal does have  distribution rules for principal and accrued interest however.  
  • $2,000 in cash.  
  • Your home is exempt for qualification.  

             By Michael J. Young, elder law and estate planning attorney in Walnut Creek, Contra Costa County, California. Mr. Young’s office is located at 1931 San Miguel Dr., Ste. 220, Walnut Creek, CA 94596. His office number is 925-256-0298 and his e-mail address is LawYoung1@gmail.com. You can go to his web site at www.WalnutCreekElderLaw.com  Mr. Young serves senior clients and their families in Contra Costa and Alameda Counties. He also has many senior clients in Danville, Brentwood, Pleasant Hill, Antioch, Concord, Alameda and surrounding communities. His long term care plans for older clients help families prepare to pay for nursing home costs and to preserve assets. He also helps his clients apply for Medi-Cal and the VA Improved Pension, Aid and Attendance benefit. You may see Mr. Young’s “Nuts and Bolts” Guide to Veteran’s Benefits at the following link. www.walnutcreekelderlaw.com/GuideToVeteransBenefits.html Please check his web site for upcoming seminars.

Nov
06
2009
0

VA AID AND ATTENDANCE BENEFITS

VA AID AND ATTENDANCE BENEFITS

            The VA Aid and Attendance pension benefit program is provided by the Veterans Administration to veterans and their surviving spouses. This benefit helps to pay for in-home care, assisted living facility and nursing home costs. There are income and asset requirements for qualification. When we plan for the VA Aid and Attendance benefit for our senior clients as part of their long term care plan, we also plan for Medi-Cal benefits at the same time. If this  planning is not coordinated and done carefully by an elder law attorney, you may become eligible for the VA Aid and Attendance benefit, but ineligible for Medi-Cal for a long period of time.

             You should see a senior law attorney who is accredited by the Veterans Administration to give advice on the Aid and Attendance program, and who is accredited by the VA to file an application for this benefit on behalf of his clients. The senior law attorney is required to make the application on a pro bono basis on behalf of his clients. Beware of individuals and organizations who appear somehow to be connected with the Veterans Administration. Many times they are annuity salespeople, and are certainly not accredited by the Veterans Administration. They make their living by selling annuities. Annuities may at times be a valuable tool for asset protection, but should not be the focus of long term care planning. In addition, the use of an annuity may be a “time bomb” as far as Medi-Cal eligibility is concerned. The annuity salesman may help create eligibility immediately for the VA Aid and Attendance pension benefit by the use of an annuity, but may create long periods of ineligibility for Medi-Cal. Always ask if the person who is offering to give you advice on the Aid and Attendance benefit has been accredited by the Veterans Administration.  They must  be accredited to file for an application for the VA Aid and Attendance benefit and to give specific advice with regard to the application. If they are not so accredited, they will most likely be in violation of the law.   

             To be eligible for the benefit, the veteran must have been honorably discharged from the service. The veteran must have also served one day during a wartime period, and must have been in the service during a wartime period for 90 continuous days. Also, it is not a requirement that the veteran saw combat, or that he was injured.

            By Michael J. Young, Elder law attorney in Contra Costa County.

 Mr. Young’s office is located at 1931 San Miguel Dr., Ste. 220, Walnut Creek, CA 94596. His office number is 925-256-0298 and e-mail is LawYoung1@gmail.com. You may visit his website at www.WalnutCreekElderLaw.com  Mr. Young serves senior clients in Contra Costa and Alameda Counties. He also has many senior clients in Brentwood, Antioch, Concord, Alameda and surrounding communities. His long term care plans for seniors helps families prepare to pay for nursing home costs and preserve assets. He also helps his clients apply for Medi-Cal and the VA Aid and Attendance Pension benefit. You may see Mr. Young’s “Nuts and Bolts” Guide to Veteran’s Benefits at the following link. www.walnutcreekelderlaw.com/GuideToVeteransBenefits.html

Nov
02
2009
0

SPENDING DOWN AND GIFTING ASSETS FOR MEDI-CAL QUALIFICATION

             For Medi-Cal eligibility, the single applicant must have no more than $2,000 in non-exempt assets in her name. If you just give away your assets, without proper planning, and you want to enter a nursing home, you may create a period of ineligibility for Med-Cal. The ineligibility period begins at the date of the transfer.

             Medi-Cal presently has a 30 month look back period, and they use a divisor of $5,698, which is known as the average private pay rate (APPR). This figure is used to determine the period of ineligibility. So for example, if you transfer $20,000 to a family member, and divide that figure by $5,698 you will have 3.5 months of ineligibility. This is rounded down to three months of ineligibility from the date of the gift. If this gift is made in November, 2009, the applicant would be ineligible for November and December of 2009, and ineligible for January, 2010. She would be eligible in February, 2010.

            If $200,000 is transferred to another individual, (divided by $5,698), 35 months of ineligibility is created. However, Medi-Cal presently has a 30 month look back period. So, after 30 months have passed from the date of this transfer, the applicant would be eligible for Medi-Cal.

             There are also acceptable and legal methods for transferring assets, among family members for instance, which create fewer months of ineligibility. An elder law attorney familiar with nursing home and Medi-Cal eligibility can advise you on these matters.

            By, Michael J. Young elder law attorney in Walnut Creek, CA.

            Mr. Young is an elder law attorney who practices in the east bay. His office is in Contra Costa County, located at 1931 San Miguel Dr., Ste. 220, Walnut Creek, CA. Mr. Young has East Bay elder law clients who live in such towns as Brentwood, Antioch, Concord, Alamo, Walnut Creek, etc.  Many of his clients are concerned about how they will pay for their nursing home costs. Mr. Young prepares long term care plans for his clients, which may include utilizing Medi-Cal and the Veterans Administration Aid and Attendance Benefit for wartime veterans. www.WalnutCreekElderLaw.com  Lawyoung1@Gmail.com 925-256-0298

Nov
02
2009
0

THE MEDI-CAL IMPOVERISHED SPOUSE STATUTES

For Medi-Cal qualification, the community spouse (well spouse) is allowed to have $109,560 (in 2009) in non-exempt, or countable assets. This is called the Community Spouse Resource Allowance, or CSRA, which increases yearly based upon the Consumer Price Index.

Only non-exempt assets are counted for the CSRA. As a result, IRA’s in the name of the well spouse, which are exempt, are not counted. Also not counted are a car, the house, household goods and jewelry in the name of the well spouse, plus the $109,560. Once the ill spouse is eligible for Medi-Cal, any assets acquired by the well spouse will not affect eligibility of the ill spouse. So, an inheritance received by the well spouse after the ill spouse is qualified, will not affect eligibility of the ill spouse.

In addition, under California law, the well spouse can keep all of her income. In addition, she is allowed to have what is called a minimum monthly maintenance needs allowance of income (MMMNA) of $2,739. If she is under that amount, she can receive a portion of her ill spouse’s income, to bring her up to that amount. 

The impoverished spouse statutes state that if the $109,560 CSRA, and/or the $2,739 MMMNA are insufficient for the well spouse to live on, she can file for an administrative hearing or file a petition with the court to have these amounts raised.

 By Michael J. Young, elder law attorney in Contra Costa County. Our offices are located at 1931 San Miguel Dr., Ste. 220, Walnut Creek, CA 94596. (925) 256-0298. Please visit our website at www.WalnutCreekElderLaw.com

 Michael J. Young, elder law attorney advises clients in Walnut Creek, as well as surrounding  towns such as Danville, Concord, Brentwood and Antioch.

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