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Proper Planning To Avoid A Health Crisis


It is too common for an elderly person to not have a proper estate plan in place. The worst-case scenario for an elderly person is finding out that they need nursing home care immediately – or very soon – and then realizing that they are not eligible for Medicaid to fund that care. Given that live-in elder care is quite costly in this day and age, this realization can constitute a full-blown financial crisis for that person and their family. If you have an elderly loved one in Putnam County or Westchester County or the neighboring who you fear may wind up in this situation, it is a good idea to suggest that they seek professional help to ensure that they are eligible for Medicaid when the moment comes.

Specific Requirements To Meet

It may seem counterintuitive that Medicare only provides very limited long-term care, given that it is a program that serves so many of the elderly and disabled. However, it is Medicaid that oversees long-term elder care. There are actually several different elder care programs available under the Medicaid umbrella, each coming with their own requirements and prohibitions. New York offers many different options for those in different stages of life, but if someone needs long-term care, there are certain specific criteria they must meet.

Each state’s Medicaid requirements are different, depending on the average income of those who live there. New York’s 2024 requirements state that a single person must have no more than $1,732 per month in income, and $30,182 in “non-exempt” assets, in order to be eligible for Medicaid. It is imperative to be aware, though, that a person cannot simply give away their assets in order to be declared eligible; rather, any gifts or bequests must be done in a specific manner lest a financial penalty be incurred.

Avoid Financial Penalties

In order to avoid potential penalties when seeking Medicaid-covered care, an elderly person needs a plan for how they will dispose of any assets or income over the limits. If they simply try to give away or sell their assets at a below market value, this will trigger penalties that effectively withhold care for a certain period of time. The rationale is that if someone has sufficient assets that they can give them away for little to nothing, they should be using those assets to pay for their own care.

This rationale will hold during what Medicaid calls its look-back period, lasting 60 months for nursing home care (New York law sets a lesser look-back period of 30 months for community-based care). Yet there are ways to “spend down” one’s assets without incurring penalties – for example, if your elderly loved one sells off an asset at fair market value, no penalty will result.

Call A Putnam or Westchester Crisis Planning Attorney

No one should be put in the position of having to frantically get rid of one’s income or assets in order to get the healthcare they need. If you have an elderly loved one you fear will be at risk of a crisis, a Westchester or Putnam County crisis planning attorney from Meyer & Spencer, PC will work hard to ensure that crisis need not come to pass. Contact our office today at (845) 628-0009 to schedule a consultation.



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