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Hello everybody-


Stupid question: I see the day coming when one or both parents will need to be in a nursing home. Can you apply for Medicaid ahead of time but not act on it right away? Kind of like getting pre-qualified for a mortgage (sorry, throwing in a tiny bit of humor).


Thanks all.

One thing that hasn’t been mentioned is the wait list in some LTC facilities. You may want to visit/call/email those facilities that interest you and place your parent(s) on their wait list...some have a 6 mo plus wait, so you don’t want to wait last minute to start looking.

The rest has ben said: POA, access to financial records and accounts, insurance policies, properties, etc.

Also said, that you can start with Community Services for in-home care while you wait for LTC. Once you apply on their behalf, they are assigned a Social and a Financial Worker. The SW does the assessment of their needs and can help you determine the level of care needed and what they would qualify for.

Also, applying and being denied the first time around happens, but you can reapply at any time. And it does take time for the process to be completed (3 months or more).

So no, it is not a stupid question! I just went through the process and there isn’t that much information out there...of course, every case is different, so feel free to keep asking...someone may have a similar situation to yours, and answer your questions! Welcome to the forum!
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Reply to GeminiUnicorn
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SZHNJ1023 Apr 28, 2019
Thank you. Good info.
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There are a few things you can do now to make the application process easier if/when the time comes. Get POA for them. Know how to access their banking records. Know about their investments and life insurance. Know about their Social security and pension income. Get their latest statements for all these, including mortgage balance if any.
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Reply to rocketjcat
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You cannot sign up for Medicaid until you need it. In my state, they allow 90 days to get all the paperwork together. This includes 5 yrs of bank statements. To spend down to the cap they allow, 2k. And to find a facility. If not done in this time span, you have to reapply.

If its a married couple and only one needs LTC, the other is a Community Spouse. The assets are split. The person going into LTC, has to spend down their half. Spouse left will not be made impoverished. This is more complicated but thats the basics.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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Thank you all. Good information. I did consult with an attorney but they were going to charge $8K and my parents don't have that (only on SSI) and I don't want to put out my own money as it would really drag me under for good. So I'll probably check in again with the NJ Agency - they've been very helpful so far.

This is a nightmare: Dad already having mobility issues; mom diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer. No other support than me and I don't live around the corner and work full-time. I keep thinking something has to resolve one way or the other, and sooner rather than later.

Again, I appreciate all of your insight you've all provided me.
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Nncbb57 Apr 29, 2019
We have a Council on Aging here in my county. They have truly saved us! Helpful, honest and free!
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Welcome to the forum. I hope you find answers here that will help you with your caretaking journey.
There is community Medicaid and facility Medicaid.
As has been mentioned you need to see a certified elder attorney well versed in Medicaid for your parents state for the best outcome for each of them.

They might qualify for community Medicaid to help with services while living in the home. If they don’t qualify now, you will better understand under what circumstances they will in the future.

Additionally check out the Area Agency on Aging to learn of any services available for your parents.
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Reply to 97yroldmom
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I'm not sure you can pre-qualify. It depends on what the requirements are in your state. In my state (Washington) my mom could only have 2,000.00 in assets, so until we spent it down (there wasn't much), she couldn't qualify. When the time got close I went to Aging and Long Term Care and they helped me with the paperwork and letting me know what I could spend it on and what I couldn't. There are strict rules as to gifting any money etc. With my mom she had only a small amount and I needed to hire a caregiver so it was fairly easy. With the caregiver fees and then I paid her cremation and burial fees (not a fun procedure, but necessary) she qualified pretty quickly. Aging and Long Term Care was so helpful in this process and now her caseworker is still with that office.
I would suggest you start asking questions now as to what would qualify your loved ones, consult an attorney if necessary to start protecting any assets you can early. There are attorneys that specialize in elder matters. I would suggest you start there.
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Reply to 12LittlePaws
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It’s very important to get educated about Medicaid before hand, learn how to navigate. It’s been something very hard to understand for me. So many rules!
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Reply to Nncbb57
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It's not at ALL a stupid question.

What would be wise to do is to have a consultation with an Eldercare attorney who specializes in Medicaid.

Doing an application for Medicaid when one spouse continues to live "in the community" is a specialized situation that requires an attorney in many cases. You don't want your non-NH parent (the community spouse) to become impoverished. You want to know if Assisted Living can be paid for through Medicaid waivers in your state. You want to know where the 5 years of bank statements that will need to be submitted with the application are so that you can access them.

Good for you for getting the jump on this!
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