Q. Should I complete a Medicaid application for my Mother on my own?
A. It depends.
• How organized and knowledgeable are you of Mom’s financial situation for the past five years?
• How old is your Mother and are you seeking community long term care (care in the applicant’s home) or nursing home care?
• Would you consider this a crisis situation and what resources are available to help until Mom is qualified?
Often relatives are able to fill out the forms and pull together 90% to 100% of what Medicaid needs without any help. I encourage folks to do all they can on their own. Many are approved without professional help. But mistakes cost time, create stress and a potential loss of benefits, why would you not want to have a legal professional check over what you are submitting to ensure there are no legal issues if the situation is more complex financially such as where spenddown is needed or from a health standpoint?
To qualify for a Medicaid program, an applicant must meet eligibility and program requirements. The requirements your mother most likely will need to meet are being at least age 65, on SSI or disabled or have various cancerous conditions. Additionally she must live in South Carolina, have meet income limitations and have limited assets. Over income individuals may still qualify if a Medicaid Income Trust is created and properly funded. Single Medicaid applicants are limited to $2,000 in non-exempt resources. Assets transferred within the last five years could create problems. Any unexplained expense may be treated as suspicious and a disqualifying event. More questions will be asked and time expended on your part to solve the issue. Paying for long term care while Mom is waiting for approval could be costly and a very big issue. Given the high cost of nursing home care, the accelerated eligibility process a knowledgeable law firm can offer usually means peace of mind and saving thousands.
Disclaimer: Information contained in this column is meant to be of general information on frequently asked questions concerning disability, elder law, estate planning and probate law, and does not contain specific legal advice to a client. No attorney-client relationship is created by reading this column. 2018