In 2021, New York implemented a shorter look-back period for Medicaid applications for Community-Based Long Term Care Services, or home care. Under these new regulations, New York Medicaid applicants are ineligible for home care if they transfer assets within 30 months, or two and a half years, prior to applying for Medicaid benefits.
However, COVID-19 has delayed the implementation of this look-back period. The Department of Health has delayed the roll-out of this look-back period until July 1, 2022. While the look-back period will apply to gifts made on or after October 1, 2020, it will not affect applications that are submitted prior to the initiation of the new rules in July.
If you are concerned about how these changes could affect your Medicaid eligibility, contact a Medicaid attorney now to learn more about the options available to you.
What Is A “Look Back” Period?
In order to successfully protect your assets and income from the high costs of nursing homes and home care, Medicaid planning should be done well in advance of needing such care. In New York, there is something called a look-back period for Medicaid eligibility.
Essentially, this means that if you funded a trust with your assets, spent your assets, or gifted your assets for the purpose of qualifying for Medicaid’s financial limits within the look-back period, those assets will be counted and you may not qualify for Medicaid assistance.
While home care Medicaid applications will be subject to a shorter look-back window, Medicaid applications for nursing home care will not be impacted by the new rules. These applications will continue to be subject to the five-year (60 months), look-back period.
What Happens If I Make A Transfer Within The Look-Back Period?
There are some exceptions to the look-back period. These exceptions can include fund transfers to a spouse, a disabled child, and children who are caregivers. The repayment of any debts is also excepted from the look-back period.
But what happens if you make a non-exempt transfer during the look-back period? A non-exempt transfer of assets during the look-back period can extend the time in which you are ineligible for Medicaid benefits. This means that you will be required to pay out of pocket for nursing home or home care services for each month of ineligibility.
What Should I Do If I Have Questions About Medicaid Planning?
If you are concerned about the costs of nursing home care or home care, the time to begin preparing for those costs is now. By working with an experienced Medicaid attorney, you can begin taking steps to protect your income and your assets in the event of illness, injury, or incapacitation. Through creative estate planning, you can strategically (and legally) structure your assets to meet Medicaid financial thresholds so that you can receive quality long-term care without depleting your life savings.
The first step is a phone call. Contact the Medicaid attorneys at Somekh & Associates today to discuss your specific needs, goals, and concerns. Toge