Q: What is Elder Law?

A: Elder Law is the practice of specially-trained attorneys who can help you protect your assets in the event of illness and dispose of your assets upon your demise, with a minimum of taxes and problems. Elder Law attorneys address long term care and estate planning needs of each individual based on his or her unique situation. (Back to Top)

Q: What are the income and resource levels for Medicaid?

A: Income cap states limit income to three times the SSI benefit level. In 1997 the benefit level is $484 per month and the income cap is $1,452. No spend down is allowed and any excess will disqualify the individual in these states.

For resources many states use the federal SSI levels. For 1997 these limits are $2000 for an individual and $3000 for a married couple. NY uses a slightly higher level of $3450 for an individual and $5000 for a couple.

The income standards are more complex and are currently linked to a percentage of the state's 1996 "AFDC" levels. You would need to check with your state for the current level. Some 1997 monthly income levels are:

State Individual-Couple CA$600$934 FL$484$726 NY$575*$834 *NY adds a $20 per month income disregard for persons over 65. (Back to Top)

Q: Will Medicaid pay for my Medicare premiums and deductibles?

A: Medicaid pays the deductibles, coinsurance and premiums for Medicare Part A and B for low income persons. These individuals are called "Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries" or QMB's.

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Q: Can Medicaid place a lien on property or recover against an estate?

A: Aside from the resource rules described above, there are many exemptions, the biggest one being a homestead.

However, Medicaid may impose a lien on a recipient's property under certain limited circumstances. States are also required to seek recovery from estates of Medicaid recipients. There are complex rules on estate recoveries. (Back to Top)

Q: Are adult children responsible for the medical bills of their parents?

A: In determining Medicaid eligibility of an adult, federal law does not permit states to use the income or resources of non-spouses. States cannot collect reimbursement from these relatives.

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Q: Are well spouses legally responsible for Medicaid expenses of a sick spouse?

A: Federal Medicaid law permits states to "deem" the income and resources of the well spouse as available to the sick spouse. The extent of this "deeming" depends on whether the sick spouse is at home or institutionalized. States also vary in how they apply these deeming rules. In NY the deeming rules do not apply, however Medicaid is allowed to sue the well spouse for a contribution.

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Ralph C. Lorigo
Phone: (716) 824-7200
Fax: (716) 824-8728
Email: rlorigo@lorigo.com

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