Estate planning typically revolves around what happens after a death, but proper navigation of a person’s twilight years falls under the umbrella term as well. When taking care of an elderly or disabled person’s comfort, Medicaid offers financial assistance for thousands of applicants.
The income and asset limits on that assistance in Florida, as the American Council on Aging details, hover around $1000 to $6000 depending on the case details. For those that do not qualify due to higher incomes/assets, the option to spend down to the limit is available.
The spend down process
With the right planning, applicants seeking Medicaid may qualify by using their extra income and assets to pay off debts or costs pertinent to their long-term care. Provided they spend down below the specified thresholds, they may still qualify.
The income spend down
This is the more straight-forward plan where, assuming applicants bring in $500 more than their limit, they pay that difference towards medical debt and other costs. Regular medications and routine doctor visits work well when accounting for monthly income and expenses.
The asset spend down
Counting and appraising assets is somewhat more fluid than the hard numbers of monthly income. Applicants with expensive property may need to deal with the home equity difference. This applies to countable assets only(versus non-countable assets like personal belongings).
Medicaid applicants cannot just give their assets away to come under the threshold. As U.S. News lists, applicants must spend their extra income or assets on a specific set of costs. Expenses include debt and credit card balances as well as healthcare-related costs like medical bills, quality of life expenses like eyeglasses or hearing aids, and even home improvements such as wheelchair access ramps.