Medicaid is a financial needs program available to elderly and disabled community members. The regulations applicable to Medicaid vary between states, because the program is a joint state and federal government effort. As anyone who has had to navigate the system for themselves or a loved one can attest, the program application and rules can be quite complex. In fact, an advice column published by New Jersey News this month on the topic began with one clear refrain: everyone should get help from an elder law attorney.
The Medicaid rules are detailed and confusing, and the challenge is made even more difficult by the fact that process is dependent on each individual situation. In other words, there is no simple answer that applies to everyone. Most area residents seek help understanding what they have to do to receive Medicaid benefits and what they can do to protect the family’s assets.
An individual may apply for either Community Medicaid or Chronic Care Medicaid. In both cases, proper completion of the New York Medicaid application is accomplished when one has a full, confidential survey of their assets and recent asset transfers. This is useful to understand what property an applicant may be able to keep and what information must be submitted with the specific application.
Both Community and Chronic Care applications will require the reporting of various documents regarding the applicant’s economic situation. Community based Medicaid applications must include at least 3 months of financial documents, proof of income, “common documents,” and income tax filings. Chronic Care applications require even more information, as the Medicaid administrators will want to know details about the past five years. A thorough examination of an applicant’s financial situation will be conducted by Medicaid investigators, and therefore proper assistance in these applications is often invaluable.
In general, because the program is primarily based on financial need, the government will expect many of an individual’s own assets to be used to pay for the necessary long-term care before the public funds will be provided. However, certain planning strategies exist to protect some assets in these situations. In most cases the earlier than an individual plans for their long-term care needs, the more options will be available to them to receive the necessary aid while preserving assets built over a lifetime.
Every New York Medicaid strategy and application needs to be specially developed by a professional who understands the rules of the state and the choices available to each applicant. We encourage all local families to seek out assistance with these matters.
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