Medicaid Qualification in Michigan Basics | Berry’s Bites

Medicaid Qualification in Michigan Basics. Qualifying for Medicaid can be complicated in Michigan. Michigan Elder Law Attorney Chris Berry reviews some of the basic qualification rules to get your loved one qualified for nursing home care in Michigan.


Hi there. Chris Barry, certified elder law attorney and today, we’re gonna talk about Medicaid qualification in Michigan. So just wrote a blog post talking about this. But this is one of the common questions the clients ask us about is they might have a loved one who’s going into a nursing home or may need nursing home care soon. How do we get them qualified for Medicaid and Medicaid is a complicated process where there’s a lot of pitfalls for the unwary where there’s some hidden traps that you have to watch out for and I was just meeting with a client recently that actually fell into some of these traps and I’ll go over the trap that this family fell into shortly. But I just wanted to go over Medicaid qualification big picture first. So understand with Medicaid, what we’re talking about really is we’re talking about nursing home care. We’re not talking about home care, even though there is what’s called the Michigan Choice Waiver Program. But unfortunately, there’s not a lot of funding for that.

So what we’re talking about is nursing home care and a nursing home in Michigan right now runs about $8-12,000 a month and so the question is how are we gonna go about paying for all that and so Medicaid will pay the cost of care. Now your income will go to the nursing home. That’s called a patient pay amount. So your social security and pension will go to the nursing home and then with Medicaid, there’s an asset test where they look at your countable assets and if you have more than $2,000 of countable assets, you’re not gonna qualify as a single individual for Medicaid and so when I say countable assets, what I’m referring to is your home up to a certain value. I’m referring to personal belongings, small cash value of life insurance up to $1500 in an automobile and a prepaid funeral. Everything else is a countable asset. So if you have $10,000 of cash value life insurance, that’s a countable asset. If you have a 401K or IRA, that’s a countable asset. So the home is exempt while you’re alive.

Now they can actually place a lien on your home after you pass away and this is called a state recovery and there’s some things we can do to avoid a state recovery. So one of the pitfalls that this family ran into that I was working with is that they had some property up north. This was the home and they had multiple acres and on one of the acres what they had in addition to the home, they actually had a small log cabin that was livable and so even though the family always considered this all a homestead in terms of kind of how they viewed it and how they referred to it, unfortunately, only 70% of the land was homesteaded. The 30% was non-homestead and so when they tried to apply for Medicaid on their own, they were denied because they were over in assets because of this non-homesteaded property and so in addition to that issue, another issue that the family had done is that one of the kids decided to help out Mom and what they had done is they had given money to Mom to help pay for some of her costs.

So when they finally submitted the Medicaid application, not only did they have this non-homesteaded property that was a countable asset, but also they had these additional funds that the son had given to Mom to help pay for cost of care. So they were denied their Medicaid application. So keep in mine Medicaid, it’s a complicated process. There’s a lot that goes into it. It’s important to work with a certified elder law attorney when you’re applying for Medicaid. So again, Medicaid qualification, you can only have $2,000 worth countable assets. Married couple, they make you cut your assets in half. At most, you can have $120,000. So that’s it for Medicaid qualification. Really basic. I invite you to attend one of our workshops if you want to learn more. Thank you.

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