Medicaid is a needs-based program that limits eligibility to those persons who meet federally prescribed income and resource tests. For Pennsylvania residents, to qualify for assistance, one must disclose to the county assistance office all income currently paid to the individual, such as Social Security benefits, retirement account distributions, dividends, and interest. In addition, the individual will be required to take all steps necessary to receive any retirement, annuity, and disability benefits to which he or she is entitled. However, several deductions are allowed from an individual’s gross income, including a personal needs allowance, which includes income needs of the individual’s spouse or family if they are living in the community, and a home maintenance allowance if it is likely that the individual will return to his or her home. In addition to income, Medicaid eligibility is also based on the individual’s “countable” resources, which includes the real and personal property that the individual owns or controls or which is legally available to him or her. An individual’s personal residence and one car are not “countable” resources.
Qualifying for medical assistance in Pennsylvania can be extremely difficult. It is very important to understand what assets are included and what assets are exempt. Because of the urgency to qualify your loved one that may already be in a nursing home, it is important to work with an experienced estate planning attorney.
At Halligan & Keaton, in Media, Pennsylvania, we have more than 60 years of combined legal experience. We provide a free initial consultation to every client. To discuss your estate planning needs with an experienced lawyer, call our office at 610-566-6030 or contact us online. We will travel to your home, a long-term care facility or the hospital to meet with you.