San Jose Tax Attorneys – Generally, after an individual has used up all of their resources, Medicaid will step in to provide the ongoing care of the individual.

Medicaid is usually a combined Federal and state program that pays for health and long-term care for eligible low-income citizens and legal residents of the United States.

It is not practical to explain all of the various states programs. However, since they are generally combined Federal and state programs, there are similarities among the various programs. This article provides a brief overview of one state’s program.

California’s version of Medicaid is referred to as Medi-Cal and the following is an overview of the program’s qualifications:

QUALIFYING FOR NURSING HOME STAY – In order for Medi-Cal to pay for a nursing home stay, the patient:

1. Must be admitted on a doctor’s order,

2. The stay must be medically necessary, and

3. With incomes from any source are allowed to keep only $35 per month for personal needs. Patients with no income receive an SSI grant of $40 per month for their Personal Needs Allowance (PNA). 

• Patients who own their own home – Medi-Cal recipients in nursing homes who own their own homes (which may be multiple dwelling units) remain eligible for Medi-Cal as long as:

a. They intend to return home; or
b. The residence is used by a spouse and/or dependent relatives; or
c. The residence is used by a sibling or adult child who lived there at least one year before the owner entered the nursing home; or
d. They make a good faith effort to sell the home. Persons not capable of making a good faith effort to sell (for instance, those who need conservatorships) remain eligible for Medi-Cal. In that case, bona fide steps have to be taken so that someone else can sell the home. 

• Married Couples – Couples do not have to spend all their resources in order for one spouse to be eligible for Medi-Cal coverage in a nursing facility. The person going into the nursing facility can transfer his or her interest in the home to the spouse remaining at home without affecting Medi-Cal eligibility. A couple also may divide its non-exempt property, so that the spouse at home may keep up to $2,739* a month of the couple’s income and up to $113,640* of the other assets for his/her needs. The spouse at home may also keep any independent income. A couple may divide their property however they wish. In determining eligibility under the spousal impoverishment provisions, Medi-Cal counts the property held in the name of either or both spouses. As soon as the countable non-exempt property is below $113,640* ($2,000 which can be retained by the institutionalized spouse), the county can establish initial eligibility. The couple then has at least 90 days to transfer everything but $2,000 into the name of the non-institutionalized spouse. The non-institutionalized spouse may retain all of the income that he or she receives in his or her own name. Consult legal services or a private attorney familiar with Medi-Cal law if either you or your spouse may need nursing facility care.

Click the following link to learn more about how to finance nursing home costs in our blog post entitled, Financing Nursing Home Care.

John Erik Fraker, Esq.

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John Erik Fraker, Esq.

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