Is a Medicaid spend down legal?

| Mar 24, 2021 | Long-Term Care Planning |

Long-term care planning is almost a necessity for most Americans today. Why? Because most of us will eventually require the medical oversight and assistance that only a long-term care facility can provide. However, most of us do not have the resources to pay for such care. Consequently, most of us likely will need to apply for Medicaid.

Unfortunately, Medicaid comes with stringent qualification guidelines. For instance, to qualify as an individual, you must own no more than $2,000 worth of assets. To qualify as a couple with your spouse, the two of you together must own no more than $4,000 worth of assets. The vehicle you own undoubtedly exceeds this amount. Add in the value of your home and other assets and it is easy to see why most of us do not qualify for Medicaid benefits.

Medicaid spend down

Per a report in US News, a Medicaid spend down may be the answer to this dilemma. This strategy allows you to “spend down” your assets so as to qualify for Medicaid benefits. But is it legal? The answer is yes – if you do it properly.

A Medicaid spend down is not a simple do-it-yourself project. It can become quite complicated because it requires adherence not only to the law, but also to Medicaid’s rules and regulations.

Look-back period

When you apply for Medicaid, officials review the financial transactions you made during the preceding five years. If they find any indication of fraud or deliberate impoverishment attempts within this look-back period, they can deny your application. Your best interests dictate that you therefore carefully consider your spend down options and complete your spend down at least five years prior to the time when you likely will need to apply for Medicaid.

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