‘Spending Down’ Assets May Help You Qualify for Medicaid
As you go through the process of applying for Medicaid benefits, you might find that you own too many assets to qualify. Because Medicaid is a needs-based program, applicants must have insufficient assets to pay for their own medical coverage.
There are legal ways you can “spend down” to be able to qualify for Medicaid assistance. On the other hand, there are some assets that do not need to be sold if you wish to qualify for Medicaid. Non-countable assets include your home, your car, certain personal effects, household furnishings and goods, certain prepaid funeral arrangements and limited amounts of cash (up to $3,000 for a couple).
The following is a list of some permissible expenses you can use to spend down:
- Legitimate debts: You may decrease your assets by paying off any legitimate debt you have accrued, including mortgage payments, medical bills, credit cards, car loans, taxes, utilities or rent. You can make either full or partial payments as a means of spending down.
- Purchases of noncountable assets: You may buy exempt assets, including purchasing a new home, automobile or furnishings for your house.
- Payments for noncountable assets: Certain payments related to noncountable assets qualify as permissible expenses. For example, because a house is a noncountable asset, certain types of repairs and improvements are also noncountable. These include plumbing repairs, new roofs, landscaping and various other improvements.
- Funeral and burial expenses: In most cases, you may pre-pay for funeral and burial expenses, although there may be some limitations.
- Caregiver services: Medicaid applicants can make payments for caregiving services, especially if those services are needed to keep the applicants in their home or to prevent them from having to move to a more expensive nursing home.
To learn more about applying for Medicaid and if you should start spending down to ensure you qualify for benefits, speak with an experienced Florida Medicaid planning attorney at The Charles Law Office.