Medicaid Planning


Michigan Nursing Home Medicaid

When it is time for you to apply for Medicaid, it may be too late to take advantage of some significant opportunities for protecting your assets and your loved ones. Careful planning before Medicaid is needed can help assure that you get quality care, as well as protect your estate for your spouse and your children. Whether it is purchasing long-term care insurance or pursuing benefits owed to you under Medicare, Medicaid and the Veterans Administration, experienced Medicaid attorney Christopher J. Berry can advise you on the approach that is right for you. This may include the best way to apply for Medicaid, such as exploring the use of trusts, transfers of assets, purchase of annuities, or increasing the income and resource allowances for family members.

Choosing the wrong elder law attorney when it comes to having a loved one in a nursing home can cost your family hundreds of thousands of dollars and you only have one chance to get it right.  Not working with a CERTIFIED ELDER LAW ATTORNEY (CELA) can be one of the worst mistakes your family makes when it comes to planning for Medicaid in Michigan.  Any attorney can say they do elder law or have had success with Medicaid planning, but only a CELA has been certified by the National Elder Law Foundation in elder law and Medicaid planning.

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Issues involved in Medicaid planning can include:

  • Protecting against Medicaid Spend down
  • How Michigan Medicaid differs from Medicaid in other states
  • The definition of “skilled nursing” as it may apply to your care
  • Additional conditions for obtaining skilled nursing coverage
  • Ensuring that you receive the nursing care benefits to which you are entitled

Whether you are planning for care and security in the future or in the midst of exploring your immediate Medicaid options, attorney Christopher J. Berry can help you navigate the eligibility requirements and restrictions to get the care you need.

Medicaid Planning for Married Couples

In Michigan, there are many planning opportunities for a married couple when one spouse goes into a nursing home and the other spouse lives at home. Many times the healthy spouse is concerned about paying for long-term care costs for the spouse who needs care, but he or she is also concerned about their own quality of life. Certified Elder Law Attorney Christopher J. Berry has the experience and knowledge to utilize strategies capable of protecting a majority of a family’s assets, including the use of specialized trusts and other elder care planning tools.

Typically, with proper legal planning, nearly 100% of all assets can be protected when a spouse needs long-term care. You don’t have to pay $10,000 per month until you run out of money, there are better options available.

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Medicaid Planning for Single Individuals

If you are caring for a loved one who needs nursing home care, there are certain strategies available to protect resources and qualify for Medicaid assistance. Certified Elder Law Attorney Christopher J. Berry can help a family protect over half of a single Medicaid applicant’s assets through specialized planning. Contact us today to discuss your particular situation.

Important Medicaid Information for Michigan

Michigan Community Spousal Resource Allowance

Minimum: $23,448 | Maximum $117,240

If there is one spouse in the nursing home and one spouse living in the community, the State of Michigan does not force you to spend down all of your money, only most of it. For married couples, a snapshot date is created when a spouse is in the hospital or nursing home for 30 days, from there DHS (who administers Medicaid in Michigan) determines the Community Spousal Resource Allowance (CSRA). That number is between $23,448 and $117,240. They make the family spend down at least half of their assets to achieve this. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. With proper legal planning nearly 100% of the assets may be protected by working with a Certified Elder Law Attorney.

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Michigan Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance

Minimum $1,939 | Maximum $2,931

Not only does Michigan Medicaid require you to spend down your assets, but they also take all of your income, leaving the Medicaid applicant $60 per month of their own income. However, the healthy (community) spouse is allowed to keep all of their income. But, if the community spouses income is less than the Medicaid applicant’s income, then they are allowed to keep a Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance between $1,939 and $2,931 per month.

Michigan Estate Recovery

The State of Michigan passed the Estate Recovery law as of July 1, 2011. Estate Recovery allows DHS to attach a lien to a Medicaid applicant’s home to recover whatever the state paid out in benefits, once the Medicaid applicant passes away. There are a few ways to avoid estate recovery in Michigan, including through the use of a Lifetime Protection Trust or through the use of a Legacy Deed. It’s important to work with a Michigan Certified Elder Law Attorney to protect the family home from Medicaid Estate Recovery.

Michigan Medicaid Look-back Period

The state of Michigan looks back five years to see if there has been any divestments. If a family has given assets away over the past five years for any reason, then the state of Michigan can assess a divestment penalty. The state looks at the amount of money given away over the past five years and divides it by the divestment divisor amount of $8,054. That number equals the number of months a Medicaid applicant must private pay for nursing home care, they are below the asset limit of $2,000 in countable assets.