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Medicaid Planning

Nassau County Medicaid Planning Attorney

Medicaid Lawyer - Experienced Nassau county Medicaid Planning Attorney - Schlessel Law - Elder Law & Medicaid Planning - Asset Protection and Medicaid Lawyer

Planning ahead for long-term medical care can be daunting. Long-term care costs can be expensive, and at times financially devastating to a family. Home care can reach costs of up to $21,000 a year while nursing home costs on Long Island can go upwards of $140,000 annually. If you or a loved one needs long-term medical care, applying for Medicaid may be a good avenue to explore.

Medicaid is a US Department of Social Services program that provides financial assistance in paying for home aid or a nursing home for qualifying individuals. There are a lot of existing misconceptions about the difficulties of qualifying for Medicaid. A common misconception is that applicants need to run their finances to the ground to qualify. Medicaid requirements regarding household income are notoriously prohibitive.

If you or a loved one needs help with Medicaid application, our experienced  Long Island Medicaid planning attorneys at Schlessel Law, PLLC can help. We can evaluate and review your eligibility status, assist you with the application process, and set up asset protection measures for your estate. If you have not taken sufficient measures to prepare for your extended care, Medicaid’s estate recovery program may ensnare you. Through this initiative, Medicaid can recover nursing home expenses from your estate. Our Nassau County estate planning attorneys can help you with asset protection and exempt your assets should you need to apply for assistance.

To schedule an appointment with our Medicaid planning attorneys, contact us today at (516) 574-9630.

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I can't say enough about Seth Schlessel our estate planning attorney. The complexity of our estate and trust matters necessitated the expertise of someone with the knowledge and experience that seth possesses. He exuded the knowledge and patience to provide outstanding service and we have not hesitated to recommend him to countless family and friends who have also been happy with his service. I highly recommend Seth for any estate planning and legal matters.

Medicaid Assistance Eligibility in Nassau County and Suffolk County, Long Island

To qualify for Medicaid in New York, you must be:

  • A US national, citizen, permanent resident, or a legal alien
  • In need of health care/insurance assistance

You must also be one of the following:

  • Pregnant or responsible for a minor
  • Blind or have a disability (or have a household member with a disability)
  • Be 65 years of age or older

Your annual household income would also need to be evaluated by the state to determine whether you have Medicaid eligibility. For a household with one applicant, they must be earning a maximum of $18,075 per year to qualify. Income includes Social Security, any pension members of the household are receiving, retirement accounts, rental properties, and investments. Valuations of any real estate, businesses, savings, and insurance policies are also included in financial statements evaluated by the government.

Compared to Medicare which covers more urgent medical needs, Medicaid offers long-term care coverage. To maximize its benefits, it is important to consider planning for Medicaid before it is necessary, especially as an added factor to estate planning.

It will also be important to determine which kind of Medicaid coverage you require. For those in need of nursing home care, Chronic Care Medicaid provides aid to individuals who need long-term institutionalized care. Community Medicaid, on the other hand, is a program for those needing home care services. Each program has its own Medicaid eligibility requirements and applicants’ health needs must be evaluated.

Each case is unique and determining which program to choose can get complicated. Medicaid planning attorney Seth Schlessel has helped many families ensure their elderly loved ones are taken care of.

Contact Schlessel Law today to schedule a consultation on which Medicaid program would best suit your loved one’s needs.

I would recommend Seth Schlessel to anyone I know who needs a top-notch Eldercare Lawyer. Seth's caring, compassionate manner as well as his wealth of knowledge and professionalism far exceeds any other lawyer that our family has used. As our family navigated it's way through an extremely difficult time Seth was always available for us. His expertise in Medicaid, and all eldercare laws made it so easy for us to handle the highly emotional side of things without having to worry about anything else. He was so patient with us, answering any questions we had, even ones that not necessarily had to do with anything legal. We feel extremely lucky and blessed to have Seth in our lives. He was not only our lawyer, but he became our friend. The words to sum up what Seth means to our family are he is our HERO AND PROTECTOR!

Definition and Exceptions of Medicaid Assets in Nassau County, Long Island

There are different types of income that count towards Medicaid’s income limit. Learning the difference between the types can be helpful in determining whether you have assets that could disqualify your eligibility for Medicaid. Different types may require different methods to protect your assets.

When it comes to Medicaid’s asset limit, countable assets, also known as resources, are taken into consideration. These assets include cash, stocks, bonds, investments, vacation homes, and different types of bank accounts such as checking, savings, and money market accounts. Remaining funds from Covid-19 stimulus checks are also considered countable assets. On the other hand, some assets are considered exempt or non-countable, such as the primary home, personal belongings, household items, a vehicle, burial funds up to $1,500, a life insurance policy with a cash value up to $1,500, non-refundable pre-paid funeral agreements, and IRA’s and 401K’s in payout status.

To be eligible for the home exemption under Nursing Home Medicaid or HCBS Waiver, the applicant must live in their home or intend to return to it. As of 2023, the applicant’s home equity interest must be less than $1,033,000. Home equity interest refers to the portion of the home’s equity owned by the applicant, which is calculated as the current value minus any outstanding mortgage. However, if the applicant’s spouse lives in the home, it is automatically exempt, regardless of any other circumstances.

For Regular Medicaid, there is no limit on home equity interest. But while one’s home is typically exempt from Medicaid’s asset limit, it is not exempt from Medicaid’s Estate Recovery Program. After the death of a long-term care Medicaid beneficiary, the New York Medicaid agency may attempt to recover care costs from whatever estate remains, often the home. Without proper planning, the home may be used to reimburse Medicaid instead of being inherited by family members.

When it comes to assets, a married couple’s assets are considered jointly owned, regardless of which long-term care Medicaid program one is applying for or whether one or both spouses are applicants. However, there is a Community Spouse Resource Allowance (CSRA) in place to protect a larger portion of the couple’s assets for the non-applicant spouse of a Medicaid Nursing Home or HCBS Waiver applicant. The purpose of this allowance is to prevent the non-applicant spouse from becoming impoverished.

As of 2023, the CSRA allows the non-applicant spouse to keep 50% of the couple’s assets, up to a maximum of $148,620. If 50% of the couple’s assets are under $74,820, the non-applicant spouse can keep 100% of their assets up to $74,820. While the assets of a married couple are also considered jointly owned for Regular Medicaid, there is no Community Spouse Resource Allowance available for the non-applicant spouse.Medicaid attorney Seth Schlessel has years of experience in elder law and Medicaid planning. He may be able to help you when it comes to planning for the future care of your loved one in Nassau County or Suffolk County, Long Island. To schedule a consultation, contact Schlessel Law PLLC.

Medicaid attorney Seth Schlessel has years of experience in elder law and Medicaid planning. He may be able to help you when it comes to planning for the future care of your loved one in Nassau County or Suffolk County, Long Island. To schedule a consultation, contact Schlessel Law PLLC.

The Medicaid Look-back Period and Income

New York imposes a 5-year Look-back period for Medicaid applicants for nursing home care. A look-back period is a duration in which your financial statements are examined by Medicaid evaluators. Under the look-back provision, the government can evaluate your financial statements for any irregularities. This look-back period can significantly impact your application for Medicaid assistance. The look-back period for those applying under Community Medicaid in New York is currently (as of this article) 3 months, but will be switching to 30 months, any assets included in or transferred from your estate within this specified time will be considered part of your estate. 

This requirement necessitates the careful planning of your estate to ensure that you can keep as many of your assets as possible while also keeping your eligibility for Medicaid. Seth Schlessel from Long Island, an experienced Medicaid planning lawyer can provide you with guidance on how to navigate the look-back process. Attorney Schlessel can also bring your attention to any penalties that may come about when transferring assets from your estate.

Long Island estate planning attorney Seth Schlessel can also evaluate your financial situation and help determine the appropriate estate planning tool best suited to your case. Schlessel Law offers services that might save some of your assets and income while ensuring you continue to qualify for Medicaid. 

Proper planning is crucial. Certain exemptions to the look-back period exist but determining your options and whether you qualify can be complicated. Estate planning attorney Seth Schlessel and the team of Long Island Medicaid planning attorneys at Schlessel Law, PLLC can help you avoid penalties resulting from the look-back period. We may be able to assist you with legal matters relating to the retention of your eligibility for Medicaid or in correcting any violations already committed.

An irrevocable trust allows you to transfer assets into a trust to be managed by a trustee. Trust assets remain separate from your taxable estate. However, you must give up control of the assets and ownership of the trust. Giving up rights to income also means giving up the ability to change any aspect of the trust.

Creating a trust is beneficial in Medicaid planning since trusts can protect assets from lawsuits, creditors, or government agencies that might have an interest in your estate.

A Medicaid Asset Trust is a type of irrevocable trust that can allow an individual to continue paying for nursing home care or other long-term medical expenses. Trusts are a powerful estate planning tool that can help you protect your assets should you need to apply for Medicaid assistance.

However, trusts are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Before you make decisions, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney. A skilled Long Island Medicaid planning lawyer can advise you whether an irrevocable trust would be the best choice based on your financial situation. Schlessel Law is an experienced Long Island law firm that can help you set up an irrevocable trust. Proactive planning in terms of irrevocable trusts can ensure your assets are protected from Medicaid’s look-back period.

A pooled supplemental needs trust (SNT) is a kind of irrevocable trust that can help you spend down assets to qualify financially and/or maintain your eligibility for government benefits such as Medicaid. A pooled SNT allows people with disabilities to utilize excess funds they have deposited in the trust to utilize them when paying for expenses not covered by their government benefits.

A pooled SNT can help New Yorkers who have a disability, as defined by the Social Security Law, to continue being eligible for Medicaid without being penalized for excess funds under Medicaid’s look-back law.

Planning for the future of your loved one in NY can be challenging. A qualified Medicaid planning attorney can advise you whether a pooled SNT is the best fit for your situation. Long Island attorney Seth Schlessel can help evaluate your case and advise you on how to create an SNT that would serve your best interests.

Call Schlessel Law, PLLC today at (516) 574-9630 to schedule a consultation with a skilled attorney for elder law and Medicaid planning.

Medicaid has a set of stringent criteria that determine eligibility for benefits. These preconditions encompass factors such as age, disability status, and monthly income. In instances where an applicant fails to meet all the requirements, their benefits may be subject to reduction, delay, or complete denial.

In New York, some common reasons for the denial of Medicaid benefits among applicants are: 

  • Dealing with deadlines. It’s important to gather information from various sources, like doctors, financial institutions, and lawyers, but it’s crucial to remember the deadlines for submitting these documents. These deadlines may prove to be challenging to meet and can be easily overlooked.
  • Failing to meet income requirements. In regions with elevated living expenses, such as New York, the income limitations of Medicaid beneficiaries can present significant challenges. Nevertheless, applicants may have the option of utilizing the supplementary Spend Down Program in certain circumstances. If you are eligible for the Medicaid spend-down program (also known as the Medicaid Excess Income program), you can subtract specific medical expenses from your income. Doing so will help you meet the Medicaid eligibility requirements.
  • Filing too early or too late. An attorney can assist in developing a strategy for submitting your Medicaid application to maximize benefits. Should the need arise to move into a nursing home without delay, Medicaid may offer retroactive payments for up to 90 days. As a result, tardy applications may leave you responsible for a portion of the charges if your benefits are approved after you become a resident.
  • Mishandling assets. Certain applicants attempt to comply with the stringent asset maximums by giving assets like cash or property to relatives. However, this strategy is not viable as Medicaid examines your financial activity for the past five years. Any inappropriate maneuvering of assets can result in a penalty period for your benefits. However, depending on your circumstances, alternatives may exist such as employing trusts to ensure continued access to funds.
  • Missing documentation. Ensure that you have filled out all forms completely when submitting your initial Medicaid application as even slight omissions may lead to immediate rejection. However, there is an even greater potential for critical data to be lost when additional information is subsequently requested. Your legal representative can assist you in appropriately recording that you have furnished the requisite information within the specified time frame. In certain cases, certified mail may be employed as proof of receipt for the submitted documents.

At Schlessel Law PLLC, Nassau County Medicaid planning attorney Seth Schlessel and our team of estate planning attorneys on Long Island. We may be able to help you when it comes to planning for your loved ones’ future. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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Business Succession Planning

Long Island business owners seeking to enter long-term care due to retirement, disability, or illness might also want to explore business succession planning. Without advanced planning, you or your loved ones might be forced to liquidate certain assets to pay for medical expenses or elder care.

Assets such as businesses are also included in the things the government evaluates when determining Medicaid eligibility through the look-back period. Passing your business on to your beneficiaries might become more difficult the longer you wait.

Comprehensive estate planning is crucial in making sure you will be able to pass on your legacy to your loved ones and still maintain eligibility for government benefits. Long Island estate planning attorney Seth Schlessel of Schlessel Law, PLLC can provide you with insight on how to ensure a smooth transition and succession of your business in Nassau County or Suffolk County, Long Island while continuing to qualify for Medicaid assistance. To schedule a consultation with a skilled elder law attorney, contact us today. 

Contact the Nassau County Medicaid Planning Attorneys of Schlessel Law to Start Planning for Long-Term Care

Experienced Long Island Medicaid attorneys recommend planning for long-term care before you need it. Because of New York’s look-back laws, becoming eligible for Medicaid assistance may involve the difficult process of having to spend down your assets if proper planning is not done promptly.

Long Island Medicaid planning attorney Seth Schlessel of Schlessel Law has helped families and their loved ones through the firm’s estate planning, elder law, and Medicaid planning services. The firm in Nassau County, Long Island has upheld its clients’ best interests in protecting their legacy and giving qualified legal advice. Applying for Medicaid and long-term care can be difficult and confusing. It is crucial to consult with an experienced and compassionate law firm that would prioritize your legal needs.

Contact us today at (516) 574-9630 to schedule a consultation with our NY Medicaid planning lawyers.

Attorney Seth Schlessel, counted among Long Island's distinguished estate planning attorneys, models his role as an elder law attorney in this well-lit image. He delivers profound understanding in elder law estate planning, adopting a comprehensive approach to estate law. Dressed in a sharp suit, this estate planning lawyer conveys confidence. His position as an estate planning attorney is renowned, and his depth of knowledge in estate tax law solidifies his status among the top estate tax lawyers. Captured in this well-lit frame, he stands as an epitome of skilled and trusted estate attorneys.
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