How do I know if I need to plan for MA? Consideration of several factors, including, but not limited to the recipient’s health, age, and resources.
Where do I apply for MA? Usually, the County in which the recipient resides.
When do I apply? When the recipient becomes physically (medically), and financially eligible (or, a few months in advance, in anticipation of eligibility).
How do I apply? There is an application, available by request or online through the DHS website (see below). There may be some requirements in addition to the application. An individual may apply, or an agent of the applicant or family member may apply on the applicant’s behalf.
Do I need an attorney for an application? No, an attorney is not required for application. But, the application process can be overwhelming to some. Applicants may find that an Elder Law attorney is experienced in this area and choose to enlist their assistance in planning for MA or submitting an application.
What are the eligibility requirements? There are physical requirements (you must be determined to need long-term care services), and financial requirements (you must be determined to meet income and asset limits).
What’s an Asset Assessment (AA)? An asset assessment is 1) for married couples when MA may be required for one, but not both individuals. It is an assessment that allows the recipient spouse to become financially eligible while also allowing the “community spouse” (the one who remains outside the facility and “in the community”) to retain certain assets. Or, 2) it is a generic name for assessing the applicant’s assets at the time of application to ensure financial eligibility for MA. An AA is a separate application often completed in advance of an application for MA.
What’s a Long-Term Care Consultation (LTCC)? A LTCC is required to determine an applicant’s physical/medical eligibility for long-term care services and, in some cases, determine a schedule of services, recommendation of options for services, and/or discuss choices the applicant may have. A LTCC is either requested (by the applicant, or the applicant’s agent or family member), or it is automatically administered as part of an extended stay in certain facilities and under certain circumstances. Trained social workers from a variety of county or state institutions may be assigned to interview the applicant.
Are there any exceptions for assets I can keep? Yes, but the exceptions have strict requirements and limitations. A conversation with an Elder Law attorney, or consulting the DHS website (listed below) will offer you a list of “excluded assets” you may be able to keep and/or the circumstances under which this is allowed.
What is the Five-Year ‘Look-Back’ Period and when does it start? The end date of the ‘look-back’ period is established on the day of application for MA. The start date for the same period is five years (or 60 months) before that date. During this five year period, any transfers (even small ones) of assets the applicant makes for less than fair market value (with a small number of exceptions), will likely be considered an uncompensated transfer and will result in a financial penalty for the applicant.
This blog is written by Bridget-Michaele Reischl, Attorney DECORO LAW OFFICE, PLLC www.decorolaw.com