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What You Need to Know When Protecting Assets From Nursing Home Costs

Updated: Apr 8, 2020

Did you know that if a person needs nursing home care, they do not have to spend all of their money on the nursing home?

There are ways to protect a portion of their assets, even if they are already in a nursing home now. However, we can usually protect more of the assets if the person is still at home. If you are caring for a loved one at home now, this is the perfect time to get this planning in place.

What you need to know:

  • Under current Ohio Medicaid laws, a single person can have $2000 in cash assets and qualify for having the state pay for their nursing home, assisted living or 20 hours per week of in-home care.

  • If the person is married, the spouse at home can keep 1/2 of the cash assets up to a maximum of $128,640 with a minimum of $25,728. *There are some exempt assets, including the house and household goods and furnishings, 1 car, term life insurance and burial policies.

  • Medicaid has a 5 year look back to see if you have given assets away. It's not that you can't give assets away, it's just that if you have, they penalize you for doing so. They take the amount given away and divide it by $6905 and come up with a number of months the state won't pay for your care. Most counties look at any transactions over $500 or $1000.

  • "But I've heard that you can give away $15,000/year without any issues." - This is true for the IRS, but not with Medicaid. This type of annual gifting only makes sense if you have A LOT of money and are trying to reduce your estate tax liability.

If you have questions about protecting assets from a Nursing Home Spenddown, contact us at (937) 507-9004 or Attorney Elizabeth Durnell-Maier is one of only 30 Certified Elder Law Attorneys, who are certified by both the Ohio State Bar Association and the National Elder Law Foundation.

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