Seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s require a significant amount of care as the disease progresses and will typically need to receive care at a specialized dementia facility. This type of care can quickly drain resources, but it can also be covered by Medicaid. However, since Medicaid is a needs-based program, qualifying for benefits can be difficult if applicants own too many assets. Additionally, applicants may be disqualified if they made any asset transfers during the 5-year look-back period. Luckily, there are ways to reduce assets through qualified spending to ensure your loved one receives Medicaid benefits and the care they need at a specialized dementia care center.
Certain assets are considered “non-countable” for Medicaid eligibility determinations. These assets include a home, one vehicle, various personal and household items, any real property that is valued up to $6,000 and currently in use, and some retirement accounts and insurance policies. If you think that purchasing non-countable assets is something you’d like to pursue as part of your spend-down strategy to get care for your loved one with Alzheimer’s, you should contact an elder law attorney experienced in Medicaid law to help determine what kinds of non-countable assets you should buy.
Buying annuities is a good strategy for a husband or wife who is spending down to get their spouse with dementia qualified for Medicaid, but it should be done with the advice of an attorney who’s well-versed in the strategy. An annuity can be purchased by the spouse suffering from Alzheimer’s in one lump sum that guarantees the healthy, or community, spouse receives a fixed income for a certain amount of time. Since spousal income is not a countable asset in terms of Medicaid eligibility, this is a great strategy for safely spending down assets; however, it must meet the annuity requirements set by federal Medicaid law.
Pre-Paid Burial Plots
In Ohio, pre-paid burial costs are allowed as part of a qualified spend down. Ohio allows Medicaid applicants to pre-pay up to $1,500 in burial costs or hold the funds in a separate burial fund to cover other funeral expenses. Any interest accrued in the burial fund is also considered a non-countable asset for Medicaid purposes. Again, it is best to consult with an elder law attorney to determine if a pre-paid burial plot or fund is a good option to spend down for your loved one’s care.
If you’d like more information about spending down to help your loved one with Alzheimer’s qualify for Medicaid, or if you’d like to have your current situation reviewed to prepare for any future care needs, please contact our Ohio elder law office at 877-653-3450 to schedule an initial consultation.