Who qualifies for Medicaid, anyway?

Have you had the conversations necessary to know your parents’ wishes in the event of a crisis?

These conversations are tough, and it’s hard to know where to start. We have worked with countless families over the years. We have watched things play out in many ways. That’s why we gathered these Top 10 Tips that will help guide your family through this process.

In the end, taking these steps will help you prepare now, so life can be a little easier later.

Just complete the simple form on the right to download our 10 Tips for Children of Aging Parents.

What are the Medicaid requirements?

  • The individual going into nursing home care is restricted to $2,400 in available assets.
  • The spouse of the individual going into nursing home care is also restricted. The number varies, but it’s often ½ of the available assets (savings, etc.), with a minimum and maximum.
  • Your home, car and personal possessions are considered unavailable assets, so they don’t count toward your qualification. However, Medicaid Estate Recovery can come back for these assets after your passing.

People are often left with a chunk of savings that leaves them ineligible for Medicaid. The trick is to spend that money to qualify.

There are a few different ways you can qualify for Medicaid:

  • Pay off debts and prepay expenses
    • Pay off mortgage, credit card debt, make advance payment on real estate taxes
  • Buy non-countable assets
    • Purchase a new car or a new furnace
  • Convert available assets to income
    • Purchase a Medicaid annuity – pay lump sum in exchange for future monthly income to spouse at home

While Medicaid doesn’t take your home, car or personal possessions into account to qualify, those assets are at risk through Medicaid Estate Recovery after your loved one passes away. To protect your home, savings and investments, consider an asset protection trust.

There isn’t a cookie-cutter answer for how to qualify for Medicaid – that’s why we take time to listen and learn about your situation before recommending a plan of action to prepare for Medicaid eligibility. We’re here to put our specialized knowledge to work for you. There are 50 certified elder law attorneys in Pennsylvania. We have three of them.


Get Started

Take the first step.


“I had [my attorney] explain what had to be done to get my wife on Medicaid. I thought it was a lot of money, but when done it was all worth it. Our case manager worked with me and answered all my questions and got it done. You will have to look long and hard to improve.”


Get a head start by reviewing the many resources we have available for you.

You Need to Understand Medicaid If You Need Nursing Home Care
The Medicaid program is the largest single source of payment for nursing home costs. It can pay for most of the cost of your nursing home care. If you are facing a nursing home admission, you need to know about Medicaid.

Read More >


Income Allowance Increases for Spouses of Nursing Home Residents
When a nursing home resident is receiving Medicaid long-term care benefits, most of their income must be paid to the nursing home each month for the cost of their care. If he/she is married, the spouse at home is entitled to retain a level of income.

Read More >


How to Avoid Medicaid Estate Recovery
Few families can afford to pay $110,000 or more per year to a nursing home. While Medicaid provides relief, you want to make sure your assets are protected from Medicaid Estate Recovery.

Read More >


Pennsylvania Announces Transfer Penalty Divisor for 2016
Gifting assets to your family within five years of applying for Medicaid can result in a transfer penalty, which can end up costing you your Medicaid benefits and making your children liable for the cost of your care.
Read More >


Can You Protect Assets Even After a Crisis Has Occurred?
Can You Protect Assets Even After a Crisis Has Occurred?
Read More >


The Medical Assistance Estate Recovery Program
There is a lot of information and misinformation out there about the Medical Assistance Estate Recovery Program. Learn what you need to know to maximize coverage and minimize the assets the program can recover.
Read More >


Visit our blog for more information on the key issues in elder law and estate planning.

Upcoming Free Webinars