Realizing you or a loved one may need long term care can be overwhelming and confusing. Where do you even start to get answers? Our knowledgeable attorneys use well-founded strategies to qualify seniors for MaineCare long-term care benefits which can help pay for nursing home services, in-home nursing services, or residential care services.
Our Rudman Winchell Elder Law Team can help you:
- Advise families on how to pay for long term care
- Prepare an individualized plan to help your family member qualify for MaineCare long term care benefits
- Prepare the MaineCare application and be your liaison with the Department of Health and Human Services
- Protect your home and other important assets from Maine’s estate recovery program
- Provide planning and guidance for asset protection for the spouse once MaineCare benefits are received
Your MaineCare application should be entrusted to an experienced MaineCare attorney.
What kinds of questions should I be prepared to answer when meeting with an attorney?
• The MaineCare application asks demographic information about the couple applying for services, so you may be asked to answer questions about the applicant spouse’s highest level of education, the applicant spouse’s location of birth, and about your marriage and any previous marriages, as some examples.
• Employment history, including retirement date;
• Whether either spouse served in the Armed Services, date of discharge, and whether service was active during a time of war;
• Family information;
• Asset and income information;
• Health insurance premiums and proof of insurance.
These are just some of the topics that we will need to discuss. Linked below is our MaineCare application checklist which will give you a better sense of the items we will need and the topics MaineCare will need to know
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Will the nursing home take my house?
Answer. No, the nursing home has no interest in taking your house to pay for your stay at their facilities. If you are paying for your care at the nursing home without any public benefits assistance (like MaineCare long term care), the cost of the nursing facility is yours. When you pass away, the nursing home might have a claim against your estate for the outstanding costs that will need to be settled, but the nursing home will not “take your house” but your house may need to be sold by your estate to pay the debt.
However, if you need public benefits assistance to pay for your time at the nursing home, the State has an Estate Recovery program that allows it to take steps after your death to recover its costs while caring for you. The Department for Health and Human Services will file a claim against your estate for its repayment, and the estate will have to settle that debt.
2. Will my spouse lose all of my income if I need MaineCare in the nursing home?
Answer. While in the nursing home and on MaineCare, your income will go towards the cost of your care. If that loss of income reduces your spouse’s income substantially enough that your spouse is living below a certain poverty level, we can apply to DHHS to have some of your income allocated to your spouse living in the home
3. Why shouldn’t I just give my camp to my kids? Why do all of this planning?
Answer. Liability. When you own a property outright, that property is subject to all of our life’s liabilities – bankruptcy, accidents, divorce, death. When we own that property with others, it also becomes subject to all of their lifetime liabilities. Insurance helps to protect it some, but not all, and not from everything. Proper pro-active planning can help protect the property from that liability. Gifting also has consequences if you need to apply for MaineCare within five years of making that gift, so it’s important not to make significant gifts without seeking legal advice.
4. What if I am too sick to plan?
Answer. We strongly encourage all clients to prepare and execute a Durable Financial Power of Attorney for this exact reason. It is a tool that can be essential to preparing a crisis plan for elderly family members. It takes the stress out of getting sick, because you know if you do get sick, your family is prepared.
5. The nursing home wants me to make a MaineCare application. Should I?
Answer. The nursing facilities are required to counsel patients and patient families about the availability of MaineCare as a payment provider. That does not mean that everyone will qualify. Please seek out a consultation with an attorney who practices MaineCare law before making the application.
6. Can my kids be involved in the planning?
Answer. The planning process and the options you have are yours to analyze and decide on. But, to some degree, planning utilizes the involvement of your family.
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