Paying for a nursing home can be very difficult when you don’t have a significant income. Many older adults turn to Florida Medicaid as a means of covering their nursing home costs. However, Medicaid has some very strict rules that keep too many people from qualifying who need benefits.
Advanced planning is often necessary to better ensure that people can obtain Medicaid when they need it later in life. These two rules determine whether someone qualifies for Medicaid benefits or not.
1. The income limit rule
There are very strict limits on how much income your household can benefit from if you hope to qualify for Medicaid. As a single person applying in 2023, your income before taxes cannot exceed $18,075. If you have a spouse or dependent, you can qualify for Medicaid if your pre-tax income is $24,353 or lower.
2. The limit on countable property
Any valuable assets that are theoretically worth money could prevent you from qualifying if they are worth too much. When applying for Medicaid, your marital status will have a major impact on how much you can have in countable assets. A single person can only have $2,000 in such assets. Married couples, on the other hand, can potentially share up to $150,000 in assets and still be able to qualify for Florida Medicaid.
Some assets won’t count toward your limit. Up to $688,000 in home equity, one vehicle, funeral policies/plots and personal property, as well as some life insurance or burial accounts, will not count toward the limit. Some people can even protect IRAs and a second vehicle, if it is over seven years old.
There is also a lookback period to consider
When you apply for Medicaid, it won’t just be the last month or two of your income that determines whether you get benefits or not. The state can look at 60 months of your gifts and transfers to determine if any transactions were inappropriate. If the state finds evidence of any major gifts or transfers in those 60 months, they may impose a penalty that delays your benefits and creates a massive financial burden for you.
Thankfully, planning ahead of time to qualify for Medicaid can benefit those who will eventually require nursing home care as they age.