Clients frequently ask elder law questions like these:
1. How can I obtain long-term care, either at home or in a nursing home, without depleting my life’s savings or losing my home?
2. How can I protect my spouse from being impoverished if I need long-term care?
3. How can I provide for the care of my disabled child after I am gone or need long-term care myself?
Many people incorrectly assume that there are no good solutions for these problem questions listed above, or that it is too late to do anything about it. They accept their "fate," and spend down their life’s savings until they have practically nothing left and then apply for Medicaid. Fortunately, it does not have to be this way.
Medicaid Benefits Planning
The fact is that Federal and New York State Medicaid laws permit people who receive Medicaid benefits to take action to protect their assets or income in most cases.
As the Court of Appeals (New York's highest court) has recently stated in a landmark case Shah v. DeBuono, decided June 8, 2000, "the complexities of the law . . . should never be allowed to bind us to the essential proposition that a man or a woman should normally have the absolute right to do anything that he or she wants to do with his or her assets, a right which includes the right to give these assets away to someone else for any reason or no reason . . . . We would only amplify this by saying that no agency of the government has any right to complain about the fact that middle class people confronted with desperate circumstances choose voluntarily to inflict poverty upon themselves when it is the government itself which has established the rule that poverty is a prerequisite to the receipt of assistance in the defraying of costs of ruinously expensive, but absolutely essential, medical treatment."
As an elder care attorney working with compassion and understanding the stress and emotional strain on seniors and their families when illness or injury forces a loss of independence or control, I strongly recommend an in-depth review and analysis of your specific situation, and my advice on the best options available to you.
When it comes to knowing how to protect your rights, at least now you will not be among the uninformed or the misinformed.
Remember that it is NOT TOO LATE to take effective action, even if you are already in a nursing home, or currently paying for care in the home. You might easily become eligible to have Medicaid pay for the same care that you are presently receiving (and even from the same caregivers or providers) and protect all or a substantial portion of your money, investments, property, or income.