Medicaid Countable Resources

Medicaid Countable Resources

By David Inabinett, Attorney at Law Most families, whether parents assisting children or adult children assisting aging parents, are doing so for “all the right reasons.”  As a result, most are not considering and, therefore tracking, day to day whether it’s Mom’s money being used to pay for each and every item Mom may need if adult child is at the grocery picking up food or medications for the parent, or if receipts are brought back when Mom insists on repaying adult child for using their money to purchase the necessary items.  Going a step further, once aging parent becomes incapable of managing day to day finances and bill paying, family members who are invariably busy and stretched to the limits already are concerned more with efficiency and ease of handling not only their own family’s financial decisions but how to best manage the overlay of Mom or Dad’s income/resources without duplication.  These “best practices” in the world of efficiency may include putting adult child’s name on aging parent(s) accounts, setting up automatic drafts and deposits, online banking for adult child to manage parent(s) resources from their desk, to even transferring monies from parent over to adult child in order to simply manage them from one single account that adult child is already utilizing for their own bills. Fast forward to the day when aging parent requires institutionalization and their resources are not sufficient to privately pay, so adult child, acting as attorney-in-fact, submits a Medicaid application and is asked by a Department of Social Services caseworker for five (5) years worth of aging parent(s)’ bank statements and proof...
The ABCs of Medicaid Planning

The ABCs of Medicaid Planning

Medicaid planning is a topic that can generate considerable confusion. While Medicaid is a federal program, each state has its own set of rules for eligibility. Under the current Medicaid rules in North Carolina, an individual is not eligible for Medicaid until his or her total assets have been “spent down” to $2,000 or less. What are the exceptions under this calculation? The most notable exclusion to the $2,000 limit is equity in the primary residence. An amount equal to $552,000* in equity may be excluded from the asset calculation. If the spouse or another dependent relative continues to reside in the home, it can be excluded from the asset calculation regardless of equity. One car may also be excluded, provided that vehicle is used to transport the individual to/from medical appointments. Household furnishings and personal property are generally not counted, and term life insurance is excluded (a portion of whole life policies may be excluded, but the remainder is countable). Retirement investments, including annuities and IRAs, are generally countable with some exceptions, depending on the date they were started, how they are titled, the individual’s life expectancy, who funded the account, and other factors. Reducing overall assets to such a low amount can put a serious burden on a spouse or family member. While the value of equity in the home may sound like a lot of money, unless the house is sold or a loan taken against it, the money is not available to pay monthly living expenses, medical bills, etc. Planning ahead to protect a portion of assets may give you peace of mind knowing that...
Women Invited to Elder Care Toolbox Seminar

Women Invited to Elder Care Toolbox Seminar

Greensboro, NC – Brinkley Walser Stoner attorney David Inabinett will present the Elder Care Toolbox on March 31, 2015 from 10:00 a.m. to Noon at the Women’s Resource Center of Greensboro. The free event will offer end-of-life planning tips and answer questions about recommended estate planning documents. “We hear people talk about the ‘sandwich’ generation, meaning adults who are caring for their children at the same time they are caring for a parent or older loved one,” says Inabinett. “While talking about end of life topics can be uncomfortable, it’s much easier on everyone involved if the planning is done before a crisis comes up. I recommend all families talk about end of life decisions and have important legal paperwork in place, including a Will and Health Care Power of Attorney, before they are needed.” Inabinett has been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America and received an AV™ Preeminent Peer Rating from Martindale-Hubbell®. He has published numerous articles on elder law and estate planning topics and frequently speaks to groups in Guilford, Davidson and surrounding counties. The Women’s Resource Center is located at 628 Summit Avenue in Greensboro. The session is open to all women 18 years of age and older. Topics to be discussed include: Wills, Power of Attorney, HIPPA Releases, Living Trusts, Asset Management, Probate Avoidance, Medicaid Spend Down, Asset Protection, and much more. To register for this free session, please call (336) 275-6090 or email marti@womenscentergso.org. Brinkley Walser Stoner prides itself on providing new and cutting edge legal counsel built on a foundation of knowledge and integrity. Brinkley Walser Stoner’s attorneys are first and foremost...
Tips to Avoid Identity Theft and Scams

Tips to Avoid Identity Theft and Scams

It seems every week we hear about another data breach or scam impacting consumers. From huge data breaches (Home Depot, TurboTax) to phone or email scams targeting seniors or specific groups, everyone needs to be aware of potential issues. While it’s not possible to avoid all the risks associated with identity theft and scams, there are steps you can take to help protect yourself. You are entitled to request a free copy of your credit report annually. Do this and review the report carefully to ensure it is accurate. If you are impacted by a large-scale data breach, sign up for the free credit monitoring services offered by the company. These services are generally offered for one year after the data breach. Do not give your Social Security number, credit card information, or other personal data over the phone if someone has called you and their identity is not confirmed. If you are not sure who is really calling, look up the main number for the business yourself and ask to be connected to the appropriate party. The IRS will never call you on the phone asking for personal information or for you to make a payment over the phone. If you receive such a call, hang up. Shred all personal documents using a cross-shredder before you discard them. Many communities have shred events sponsored by the police department where you can watch the documents while they are destroyed. If someone emails, calls or shows up at your door selling products or services, be skeptical of the offer. Don’t agree to anything before checking the company out through the...
Support Your Parents or Go To Jail?

Support Your Parents or Go To Jail?

A recent Pennsylvania case is shedding light on a trend taking hold in a few states regarding an adult child’s responsibility to support their parents. In Health Care & Retirement Corporation of America v. Pittas, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania found an adult child liable for $92,943.41 of a parent’s medical treatment. Currently 30 states have laws regarding filial responsibility which create a statutory duty for an adult child to support parents who cannot provide for themselves. Various states impose both criminal and civil penalties for failure to support ones parents. North Carolina does have filial responsibility laws on the books. They may not gather much attention, but North Carolina General Statute 14-326.1 states: “ If any person being of full age, and having sufficient income after reasonably providing for his or her own immediate family shall, without reasonable cause, neglect to maintain and support his or her parent or parents, if such parent or parents be sick or not able to work and have not sufficient means or ability to maintain or support themselves, such person shall be deemed guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor; upon conviction of a second or subsequent offense such person shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. If there be more than one person bound under the provisions of the next preceding paragraph to support the same parent or parents, they shall share equitably in the discharge of such duty.” What does this mean to the average person? Basically, you could face criminal charges in North Carolina for failure to support your parents. If one or both parents are sick or unable...
Medicare vs. Medicaid and the Medicaid Application Process

Medicare vs. Medicaid and the Medicaid Application Process

By Ryan McNeill, Attorney Due to similar sounding names, many people are uncertain about the difference between Medicare and Medicaid, particularly as it pertains to long term nursing care benefits. The Medicare program is an insurance program, which like most private insurers, covers health services like doctor’s visits, trips to the hospitals, and through its Part D program, prescription benefits. Medicare will only pay for a stay in a long term care facility if certain conditions are met: 1) You are admitted to a hospital for a “qualifying stay” of at least 3 days, and 2) You are discharged to a skilled nursing facility for rehabilitative services. Even in these circumstances, Medicare will only pay the costs of this kind of care for 20 days and then imposes a coinsurance amount of around $152 per day for days 21 through 100. After 100 days during a benefit period, Medicare will no longer pay for skilled nursing care services. By contrast, Medicaid is an assistance based program which has a long term care benefit to individuals needing skilled nursing care. Its rules provide that an individual needing skilled nursing care can qualify for assistance if that person has less than $2,000 in “countable resources.” In addition, Medicaid will look to see what assets the spouse of a Medicaid applicant has in his/her name to determine eligibility for the applicant. Unfortunately for many people, the rules for what is or is not considered a countable resource, or strategies for converting countable resources into non-countable ones, are not explained to them in the Medicaid application process. When a Medicaid application is filed...