Why Use a Lawyer When Applying for Medicaid

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    Why Use a Lawyer When Applying for Medicaid

    Why Use a Lawyer When Applying for Medicaid

    • St. Petersburg Estate Planning and Probate Attorney has over six decades of experience helping people secure their legacy. We have a proven track record of success for our clients. Our law firm has been around for a long time because we get great results and don’t take advantage of people. 
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    St. Petersburg Estate Planning and Probate Attorney stands out due to our commitment to client success and our extensive expertise in estate planning law. Our attorneys have consistently secured favorable outcomes for clients, earning reputations for diligence, compassion, and legal acumen. Simply put, they are the toughest around, but also fair.  Our firm is dedicated to providing personalized service, ensuring that each client receives the attention and support they deserve throughout their legal journey. You can count on our Estate Planning and Probate Attorney to have your back.

    Although an individual can obtain a Florida Medicaid application form online, we highly recommend you use an elder law attorney who has experience with Medicaid.

    Sadly, Medicaid is rife with complications and is not an easily navigable DIY project. A Florida Medicaid application form contains dozens of questions, each of which has a significant impact on the health coverage that Medicaid could pay. Unless you have the experience and professional knowledge to understand the implications of each answer, you could find yourself messing up your application with avoidable mistakes.

    Here’s why you should always use an elder law attorney when applying for Medicaid:

    Reasons to Use an Elder Law Attorney for a Medicaid Application

    To Avoid Medicaid Penalties

    Your application will ask you if you’ve gifted assets within the last 60 months to determine if you’ve made any disqualifying transfers. If you have, then you could face Medicaid penalties that limit your potential benefits for months (usually the total value of the gifted assets divided by the average nursing home cost in Florida).

    However, with the help of an elder law attorney, you can avoid these penalties. To accomplish this, they’ll help you create a legally sound and optimized Medicaid plan – that means focusing on your unique circumstances, your finances, and applying for Medicaid at the optimal time.

    You may also be able to qualify for gift exemptions or be advised to delay your Medicaid application. If you don’t have the legal expertise for this, you will likely fall into a penalty trap, even on future application attempts.

    To Remain Eligible

    Florida Medicaid applicants will likely also need to restructure their assets, real estate titles, and bank accounts to qualify for Medicaid in the long term, while still being able to live independently for now. There are various routes to achieving this, such as utilizing a personal care agreement (where you compensate your family caregiver while lowering your asset and income limits). Taking matters into your own hands might lead to unintended consequences, so you want to make sure that you consult with an attorney before assets are restructured.

    Married couples need to think slightly differently than unmarried couples when it comes to Medicaid applications. To be eligible, we may need to lower the couple’s asset value while still retaining enough resources for the spouse still living at home to cover their costs.

    This can be done through a variety of estate planning techniques, such as setting up a trust. The only way to discover the best route for you is to contact an elder law attorney.

    To Find the Optimal Time to Apply

    Timing is crucial when submitting a Florida Medicaid application. If you don’t do it at the optimal time, you can miss out on thousands of dollars.

    That’s why it’s advised to plan in advance. It can be wise for seniors to plan as early as five years in advance if they are likely to need long-term care. The earlier the better is the general rule.

    Planning for Medicaid is not the same as applying. If you apply early without having a proper plan in place (e.g. when your assets are not structured properly), you may face a longer period of ineligibility than normal and incur hefty Medicaid penalties. If you apply too late, you can miss out on months of Medicaid coverage until the application is processed.

    To know when to precisely apply, you should work with an experienced elder law attorney.

    To Respond to Denials

    If you have previously applied for Florida Medicaid and faced a denial, don’t give up. An experienced elder law attorney will likely be able to provide you with options that you don’t know exist. Oftentimes, even if you do qualify, Medicaid processing agents overlook certain aspects of your application and, in most cases, you will likely need a lawyer to advocate for you and get you the benefits that you are entitled to. Navigating the laws and applying alone could not only be a waste of time, but also a waste of potential benefits.

    To Ensure You Get the Right Coverage

    Having an expert analyze what you need and are entitled to can go a long way. You may believe you know what you need coverage for, but until you have an outside opinion, it’s easy to overlook the small things. An elder law attorney will talk to you to determine which areas of daily living you need support with and then ensure your estate is structured in a way that makes that a possibility. Whether you’d like to receive care at home or move to a long-term care facility, navigating the many coverage options of Medicaid requires that you find a lawyer that can identify your needs and prepare you with the tools to achieve a maximum benefit.

    To Avoid Conflicts of Interest

    Nursing homes may refer families to non-lawyers to help with the Medicaid application process, but they often have their own interests at heart. Ideally, they want their residents to pay privately for as long as possible before turning to Medicaid.

    An elder law attorney only has interests for their clients. At our firm, we charge a flat fee for the Medicaid application and gain nothing from delaying the process and instead will want you to get the best coverage and best outcome.

    Handling Follow Ups

    If you apply alone, you might get lost and overwhelmed navigating the Medicaid application process and communicating with the Medicaid processing agents. However, an elder law attorney will answer any questions that they may have and ensure that you comply with their requests and don’t miss any deadlines.

    Reviewing Medicaid Approval

    Once you get approved for Medicaid, a Florida elder law attorney will approve the letter and check everything (such as the Patient’s Monthly Liability) is calculated correctly.

    Your elder law attorney can then advise and assist you moving forward, to avoid jeopardizing your Medicaid status.

    Peace of Mind

    Don’t forget the value of peace of mind when it comes to your future. Knowing you’re getting the best possible Medicaid coverage, with the best possible asset structuring, will help you relax now and for the years to come. You can’t know what you don’t know. Reputable Florida elder law attorneys know Medicaid inside out and can help you achieve your goals and maintain independence, dignity, and family wealth.

    If you don’t use a lawyer for your Medicaid application, you could risk:

    • Failure to fully understand spousal rights.
    • Inaccurate application.
    • Incomplete application.
    • Penalties due to making mistakes or not understanding the consequences of actions.
    • Failure to protect assets, income, and family wealth.
    • Failure to increase support by maximizing other benefits such as VA Aid & Attendance.

    Hire an Elder Law Attorney in Riverview

    If you or a loved one need to plan or apply for Medicaid, our Florida Medicaid planning lawyers can help. We advise that you start the planning process as early as possible, especially if you anticipate the need for long-term care.

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