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What is Medicaid Planning?

The first question we are asked when an individual wants to explore Medicaid planning for their elderly family member’s long term nursing home care is- “What exactly is it?” To simplify a complicated issue, Medicaid Planning is the rearranging of assets. Often a family is shocked to see the sticker price of a long term care facility for their family member. The use of appropriate Medicaid planning may allow the elderly individual to become eligible for Medicaid without having to deplete all their savings on a nursing home.

CAUTION: Medicaid eligibility criteria for long term care is ever changing and very complex. Do not try this alone or you may preclude your family member from eligibility. Contact Estevez Law Group today to consult with an experienced Elder Law Attorney that can create the best plan to fit your family’s needs.

Here are some frequently asked questions about Medicaid Planning:

  1. What is asset limit to qualify for Medicaid For Long Term Nursing Home Care? Asset limit for single person is $2,000.00. But this excludes homestead realty up to $560,000.00 it also excludes one car of any value and some other items.
  2. What is income limit to qualify for nursing home Medicaid? The monthly income limit to qualify for Medicaid is $2,205.00.
  3. What exactly is the five year look back rule for getting Medicaid? Gifts to a non-­spouse prevent the immediate eligibility of Medicaid. Other planning strategies are available that can be done immediately. No need to wait five years.
  4. What is a Medicaid Irrevocable Income trust and How is it used? The income limit to getting Medicaid is $2,205.00. But this problem is resolved by placing excess income into a “Miller Trust”. Applicant is beneficiary. Trustee can be spouse, child, or any other party. Trustee must pay excess to the nursing home.
  5. What is a personal service contract and how does to help qualify for Medicaid and save assets? This is a contract between Medicaid applicant and spouse or child that permits transfer of assets to reduce countable assets of applicant to below $2,000.00. Five year look- back rule does not apply (compensation is not a gift).
  6. What is spousal refusal and how does it help qualify for Medicaid for nursing home care? Applicant can gift unlimited monies to his spouse. Not subject to rule against gifts. Gift reduces countable assets to below $2,000.00. Recipient must sign affidavit refusing to support Medicaid applicant. Applicant must assign to State of Florida his right to sue spouse for non-support.
  7. What is spousal diversion and how does it protect the community spouse of a Medicaid applicant? General rule is that Medicaid applicant must pay all income to the nursing home, but the community spouse can receive a portion of this income to meet her basic living needs. Sometimes, this can permit community spouse to retain all applicant’s income. High mortgage expense and other shelter costs may increase diversion of income to the stay-at-home spouse.
  8. If my family member gets Medicaid for long term nursing care, will this cause loss of his homestead? If it is determined that applicant intends to return upon leaving nursing home, Florida is not entitled to file a lien or receive any part of sale of home upon death of Medicaid applicant.
  9. Will receiving Medicaid benefits entitle State of Florida to file a claim for reimbursement upon death of recipient of such benefits? NO.
  10. Is Medicaid ever available to pay for assisted living facility or for home health care? While there is no immediate funding, Medicaid does provide limited funds for these purposes. People frequently apply for these benefits to get priority when Florida’s state legislature approves funding for these programs.
Medicaid Intake Form (Single) Medicaid Intake Form (Married)




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