In our office, we frequently receive requests similar to the following:


I have a few concerns as I’m researching more about how to care for her. My mother doesn’t have many assets or much money.  How can your Elder Law services help me?   I’m concerned that eventually I’ll need to place her in a nursing home.  She has barely enough money between her social security check and my dad’s pension to cover half of the monthly nursing home fees.  My brothers and I will have to chip in to cover the rest.   Nursing home fees are expensive! How can you help us help my mother? --Concerned Caregiver


Dear Concerned Caregiver:


Yes, nursing home fees are expensive.  There is a solution for you, however.  With proper planning and safeguarding of some of your mother’s assets, she may qualify for Medicaid coverage.


The key word here is “qualify.”  The criteria for qualifying for Medicaid is inflexible and complicated.  Unfortunately, some people attempt to submit all the paperwork without help from an expert and only end up further complicating the process. If the paperwork is filled out incorrectly, or something is missing, the applicant is turned down.  This sets a negative precedent for any future communications.


When a second application has to be submitted, you’re in a pickle – you’ve likely already lost time and money paying for care that would have been covered if things had been done correctly the first time. 


Also, Medicaid nursing home coverage varies by state.  Depending on the state she lives in, and the state where she will reside in a nursing home, another layer of confusion is piled on. It’s not uncommon for children to relocate their parent to a nursing home closer to them.  Thus, the information that you received in another state might be applicable here in North Carolina.


In a situation like yours where there aren’t many assets or much money to place in a trust, we help our clients accurately fill out the paperwork to apply for Medicaid coverage to pay for nursing home fees.   We understand the complicated requirements when applying for Medicaid. 


If you’ve already made a mistake by giving away assets or filling out an application incorrectly, there may still be hope for qualifying.   At our firm, we offer a free initial planning consultation.  We focus in estate planning and elder law so after we review your situation, we may be able to help you qualify for Medicaid coverage or suggest other viable options. 


Free Caregiver’s Guide:

Solid legal and financial planning is critical for a loved one with long-term care needs. Download our free Caregiver’s Guide to learn the critical information you need to know about caring for your loved one.

Jackie Bedard
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Attorney, Author, and Founder of Carolina Family Estate Planning