Helping seniors and their loved ones plan for quality care
Long-term care planning—whether for yourself or for a loved one—is an emotionally challenging experience. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed, and making financial decisions under stress is difficult.
We help you make sound financial decisions and plan for your and your family’s future. This includes advising you on your Medicaid options.
How We Help
At the NJ Elder Law Center, we understand that planning for age-related illnesses can be an emotionally challenging experience.
We know because we’ve been there ourselves. Our team includes legal professionals and former caregivers, and we’re committed to supporting your entire family through the process of planning for the future.
This includes helping you navigate Medicaid-related questions. Determining Medicaid eligibility and filing an application is stressful and includes expensive pitfalls. The application requires extensive documentation and is governed by a complex set of rules and regulations. It’s normal to have questions.
We help our clients evaluate their options, manage applications, and maintain their eligibility over time.
At Goldberg Law, we provide:
- Strategic planning for long-term care
- Application assistance
- Ongoing legal guidance
- Ongoing legal guidance to help you maintain your Medicaid eligibility
We know the common complaints: Law firms are busy, and most of them don’t proactively stay in touch with clients.
At NJ Elder Law Center, we go above and beyond to make sure that you are doing everything you need to do to protect your assets in the face of a long-term care need. We understand that all the moving parts, rules, and deadlines can be hard to keep track of—especially when paired with the challenges of aging.
That’s why our team is devoted to designing processes that allow you to focus on your family and your health instead of getting bogged down in the nitty-gritty of strategy and documentation. We understand the repercussions of failing to plan or of misinterpreting the rules, and we can help you navigate this system.
A team member talks with Medicaid clients every week to ensure that their finances are in order for continued eligibility. We have the experience and legal knowledge to navigate the system for you. If you need to “spend down” or make other financial adjustments in order to qualify for Medicaid benefits, we will be sure to let you know in time to make the changes.
We can work with you to make your money go further—and help maintain your quality of life. Questions? Give us a call.
What is Medicaid?
Medicaid is a state and federal-run program that provides medical insurance to individuals below a certain asset threshold.
- Is governed by rules that differ from state to state
- Uses income and assets to determine eligibility
- Allows for certain exempt assets that do not count towards eligibility
Although Medicaid is sometimes confused with Medicare, these are actually two separate programs. Medicare is a federal program for adults who are over the age of sixty-five or who have disabilities. This program does not provide for long-term care services. Additionally, Medicare is an entitlement program, whereas Medicaid is a means-based program.
It’s possible to qualify for both Medicaid and Medicare at the same time. The resulting “dual health plan” offers a wider range of coverage.
There are many misconceptions around Medicaid that can prevent people from accessing healthcare that they’re legally entitled to. One of the most common misconceptions is that Medicaid is only for lower-income people. In reality, people who use Medicaid come from a range of financial backgrounds. Many previously higher- and middle-income individuals find that they can qualify for Medicaid as part of their long-term care planning process, and that doing so may be in their best interests.
Another common misconception is that you have to use up your assets by paying for private care before you can qualify for Medicaid—but this isn’t true.
Who's Eligible for Medicaid?
The rules for Medicaid eligibility vary by state, household size, and year. In New Jersey, you must be a resident of the state and a U.S. citizen or qualified alien. To qualify, you must also be at or below certain asset and income thresholds.
Applying for Medicaid can be an emotional process. Most individuals have worked hard all their lives to build up savings, and they worry about being able to afford care.
We can help set your mind at ease. In a short complimentary meeting, our attorneys and staff members answer your questions about Medicaid and help you develop a plan that both protects your finances and accommodates your healthcare needs.
What are the benefits of Medicaid?
There are many benefits to using Medicaid, including coverage for long-term care such as home health services, assisted living, and nursing home care.
In New Jersey, long-term care typically costs between $10,000 and $25,000 a month, and Medicare and health insurance don’t cover long-term care at all.
Medicare can also make it possible for you to work with a care agency instead of trying to save money by contracting a private individual to provide care. Although private individuals typically charge less than home care agencies, hiring a private individual rather than an agency to care for you or your loved one can be a dangerous proposition.
Our practice has dealt with issues of sub-standard care, theft, and insurance claims made by an aid injured on the job. It is also difficult to prove to Medicaid that an ATM withdrawal or a check to cash was used for care rather than as a gift meant to qualify the applicant for Medicaid sooner.
This doesn’t need to be the case. Instead, we recommend meeting with the team at NJ Elder Law Center to begin your Medicaid planning.
Guardianship and Planning Ahead
As with many other aspects of elder care, decisions around guardianship and power of attorney are best made early—and reaffirmed every few years.
Deciding now who can make legal, financial, and medical decisions for you—should you be unable to make them for yourself—has obvious benefits. While many people assume that a family member will be appointed if there’s a need, this isn’t always the case. A guardianship is an expensive, time-consuming, and emotionally draining alternative to a simple Power of Attorney and Healthcare Directive.
For this reason, we strongly recommend that any plans for long-term care include careful consideration of the person to whom you wish to grant power of attorney, including for health care, financial management, and guardianship.
You do not have to pick a relative as your power of attorney. You can choose someone you trust, like your attorney or a trusted friend.
Assets and Medicaid
Your Medicaid eligibility depends on a number of factors, which is why working with a team that understands Medicaid law and Medicaid for elderly adults can be so helpful.
For instance, your family home generally does not count as an asset if you’re on Medicaid, so long as it’s your primary residence. Once the home is sold, the resulting cash will count as an asset that may disqualify you from receiving Medicaid.
Medicaid Estate Planning
At NJ Elder Law Center we have many strategies at our disposal. Whether you and your family need new Wills and Powers of Attorney, have an imminent Medicaid need, or are involved in more complex planning involving trusts and certain types of annuities, we have a deep understanding of the strategies involved.
Eric Goldberg is uniquely qualified to offer advice on this subject due to his deep experience in finance and his designation as a Certified Elder Law Attorney.
Medicaid and Elder Law Attorneys
At the NJ Elder Law Center, we understand that Medicaid long-term care decisions may seem limited and opaque at first glance. However, there are far more options than many people realize, and you certainly don’t need to run through the savings you’d hoped to pass on to your kids.
With strategic Medicaid planning, you can receive the long-term care you desperately need and maintain a higher quality of life. Our legal team works with clients to provide:
- Strategic planning for long-term care
- Medicaid application assistance
- Ongoing legal guidance
- A pro active approach to helping you navigate Medicaid and the long-term care system