Did you know that Medicaid is only available as long as the applicant is in need of medical services? One of the reasons why is because it is a means-based program in Florida. Further, in most instances, to qualify to receive Medicaid Institutional Care Program benefits, your mother needs to demonstrate that she requires care in a 24 hour skilled facility such as a nursing home.
Your mother, however, will not receive Medicaid assistance if she has too many countable assets. If she is unmarried the most she can have in countable assets this year is $2,000.00. Unfortunately, if your mother is over this amount and she waits too long to gift her assets to someone, other than a spouse, she may be penalized for making the gift too close to the time that she applied for Medicaid assistance. Assets given to another person, such as a son or a daughter, at least five years in advance of applying for Medicaid assistance, however, will not give rise to your mother’s disqualification for assistance when the time comes.
It is important to know that all is not said and done when she is approved for Medicaid assistance. Every year that a person continues to receive Florida Medicaid benefits, the Department of Children and Families mails a Notice of Eligibility Review Questionnaire to the Medicaid recipient or his or her designated representative. To continue receiving benefits, the questionnaire must be completed by the recipient or designated representative under penalties of perjury and returned to the Department by a certain deadline that is set forth in the notice. If the questionnaire is not timely completed and returned, the Department may not be able to determine if the Medicaid recipient is still eligible and the recipient’s Medicaid benefits may stop.
The information asked in this questionnaire requires completion of the information including, but not limited to, the following:
1. A list of all income that the recipient and his or her dependents receive such as social security, pensions, veterans’ benefits, annuity payments, dividends, and other sources of income.
2. All household expenses such as rent, utilities, and unreimbursed medical costs.
3. A list of all assets and their fair market value that the recipient owns in whole or in part, including the spouse’s assets.
4. Any uncovered medical expenses.
We also want you to know that Medicaid ineligibility does not apply to non-countable assets. What are non-countable assets? For example, non-countable assets could be a residence, improvements made to a residence, Individual Retirement Accounts, a prepaid burial account, or one automobile regardless of its value.
The questionnaire may also ask if there had been any changes to this report since the prior year. It is critical that you and your loved ones who are in charge of your mother’s care watch for this information. You do not want her to miss out on her valuable benefits simply by missing the deadline to return this information. Consider marking your calendar a month or two before the time recertification is due to ensure that you do not miss this important deadline.
We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Do not wait to ask us. You may contact our office to schedule a meeting with a member of our legal team to discuss your questions at any time.