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Why you should tackle Medicaid planning before Oct. 1

On Behalf of | May 15, 2020 | Elder Law

Medicaid planning for New Yorkers is about to get more complicated, thanks to a new look back period rule that takes effect this October 1.

To qualify for Medicaid assistance and get help paying for a stay in a long-term care facility, your income and assets must not exceed a certain amount. Medicaid planning is the process of divesting yourself of excess assets over time, while still living comfortably and passing on your legacy to your family. It is part of your estate plan. Medicaid is a combined state and federal program, and each state has its own procedures for determining eligibility.

What is changing with New York’s Medicaid laws?

Many states include a look-back period as part of its decision-making process. They examine the applicant’s financial records from over the past few years for evidence of gifts and other non-exempt transfers. If the applicant has made excessive gifts during that time, their state’s Medicaid officials may impose a penalty period, during which the applicant is ineligible for Medicaid assistance.

Currently, New York has a five-year look-back for nursing home care. However, there is currently no look-back for homecare Medicaid. Effective October 1, 2020, there will be a two-and-a-half look-back for homecare Medicaid. After that, state Medicaid investigators will start using a 30-month look-back period to check for non-exempt gifts and transfers.

Additionally, effective October 1, 2020, new requirements for Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) will be needed to qualify for Medicaid. If you qualify under the current law, it is possible that you will not qualify under the new law.

Get started with Medicaid planning before the rules change

In other words, if you have been considering talking to an attorney about Medicaid planning, now is the time. It is crucial that you get your Medicaid planning taken care of before the rules change this fall. After that, while it will still be possible, getting approved for Medicaid will be more difficult. Large gifts you may have given to your relatives over the years may come back to complicate your application.

Speak to an attorney who practices Medicaid planning to get started.