Are the total assets of an individual taken before Medicaid will accept a person?

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I have been told by two different law firms, to different answers to the same question, that being are the IRA subject to 'spend down'. Each state is different apparently; NY says 'assets not in excess of 14.5k, while MI says 2k.
Having been told that the Fed.Govt. can only take the amount of distribution from an IRA and all of Social Security payment, then give a stipend to the person that care is being provided for (approx. $80 per month.)
Further, I was told that because Mother has no house and an older vehicle, she could buy a 'new' car and a house. Lawyers states that guidelines allow this along with prepaid 'final expenses' (aka funeral cost), again as part of 'spend down'.
Does anyone REALLY have the correct information? Where does one find the true answer, that will hold-up if legally challenged?
The plan was (is) to relocate Mother to MI from NY, where she would be closer to half of the family at least; there are none where she is now. I have been searching homes for sale, but won't make the commitment of funds and time if to just lose it all in the end.
Mother's PCP & Neurologist have finally (at my behest) leveled with her as to the situation, which they haven't done willingly, that 'You can not live alone. The need for constant supervision, 24/7, is required for you without question.'
There must be someone out there that can offer some knowledgeable assistance....I hope and pray there are some here that have had similar concerns and found useful information or resolve.
Though only a 'newbie' at this road in Life and sensing as a Ryder of the same, it's a journey that more are being forced to travel. As the Sun rises in the East, so shall we rise.

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Medicaid is a federal program administered by the states. States have to follow basic guidelines and can also rules of their own. Yup, confusing.

Medicaid does not "take" assets. Rather there is a limit of how much in assets and income an applicant can have and still qualify. If the applicant has assets over that limit, she has to spend down to the limit on her own care, before Medicaid will start paying for her needs. She could spend this on a new car, a new roof, a new wardrobe, a world cruise (for herself only), ways to make her home more accessible, etc. She cannot give her money or assets to others, but she can pay others for services, such as housekeeping, companion services, caregiving, etc.

I'm assuming that your mother is single. (Limits and some rules are different for married couples.) Per federal rules, an applicant can own a home. After the Medicaid recipient dies, the state can claim the value of the aid they provided out of the proceeds of the house sale. (This is not a way to put assets aside for heirs.)

If you are intending to buy a house for mother to live in, consider how she is going to get 24 hour care. If she has enough income to afford that, she probably isn't going to be eligible for Medicaid. Medicaid does have a program to provide services to enable a person to remain at her home and keep her out of a nursing home, but this seldom extends to 24 hour help (because then a nursing home would be more cost-effective).

Also consider how she is going to afford the taxes and insurance and home upkeep costs.

Are you contemplating having a family member live with her? Under some circumstances the home can be given to the family member if that is what has kept your mother out of a nursing home for a certain length of time. (3 years??)

You should contact not just any law firm, but one in NY that has attorneys specializing in Elder Law. Or find a certified estate planner with lots of experience with Medicaid. To maximize the value of the first appointment have specific questions in mind. Yes, your mother can own a house. But what does that mean for her in practical terms?

Good luck on this challenging journey. You are definitely not alone!
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