Limits, spend-downs and trusts for your Medicaid needs

Jun 14, 2021 | Estate Planning, Medicaid Planning

Nobody wants to think about themselves needing in-home long-term care or living in a nursing home. You probably feel fine today and the concept of being in a physical or emotional state meriting that care may seem alien.

Planning for these contingencies may help in the long run though. When applying for Medicaid, there are several terms and protections to be aware of.

Income and asset limits

For those above the age of 65, the American Council on Aging has an eligibility table for New Jersey residents looking to apply for Medicaid. Qualifying for these benefits requires that you make no more than between $1,073 and $4,764 per month depending on your situation:

  • Single
  • Married and both applying
  • Married with only one applying

Assets include bonds, investments and bank accounts and these limits range between $2,000 and $6,000 in total depending on your situation. In the case of only one spouse applying for Medicaid, the non-applicant may have up to $130,380 in assets.

Spend down plans

If you or your loved one makes more money than the income limit, estate plans may include a spend-down strategy. This allows you to pay down medical debt and other applicable costs. If you make $1,000 more than the limit and prove that you spend that excess on medical debt, you may still qualify.

Asset trusts

Another way to qualify for Medicaid without losing everything you own is to transfer it all to an irrevocable trust. Assets transferred to these trusts no longer belong to you, but they are also out of the picture for Medicaid planning.

This decision is a complicated one with a lot of moving parts. Learning more about estate planning may help guide you in protecting your future, income and assets.