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Curran Estate & Elder Law, PLLC
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Pre-Planning Medicaid Attorneys in Berks County, PA

People who need the assistance of Medicaid—especially the elderly who need nursing home care or other services for their senior years—will face issues of how much income or assets they can have and still qualify for Medicaid. The rules vary depending on whether you’re single, married with one spouse applying, or married with both spouses applying. Though the program sets limits on income and assets that can seem too restrictive, there are legitimate programs to qualify for while shielding what you’ve worked for and accumulated throughout your working life. 

If you or a loved one needs Medicaid assistance in or around Reading, Pennsylvania, contact the attorneys at Curran Estate and Elder Law, PLLC. We are knowledgeable and experienced in Medicaid rules and regulations and can help you plan for the day you may need senior care. We’re here to assist you through proper asset and income management strategies. 

Curran Estate and Elder Law, PLLC proudly serves clients throughout Pennsylvania, including Berks County and the neighboring counties of Schuylkill, Montgomery, Lancaster, Chester, and Lebanon.

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Qualifying for Medicaid 

Medicaid is a jointly operated federal and state program that provides health care and living assistance for low-income people, families and children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with disabilities. It’s administered by both the federal and the state government where you live. If you are disabled and have a low income and few assets, qualifying can be fairly straightforward. For those who have worked until their elder years and may need the services of a nursing home or other assistance with living at home, qualifying may present a somewhat bigger challenge. 

In Pennsylvania, when it comes to elder assistance, the qualifying standards vary on your status—single, married but filing individually, or married and filing jointly. If you are single or married and applying singly, the income level is $2,523 a month from any source, including Social Security and other retirement funds. If you are married and need services for both spouses, the income limit doubles to $5,046. 

Any applicant, whether single or married, cannot have more than $2,000 in assets, though one’s home is exempted, as are household goods and furnishings, and one vehicle. A non-applicant spouse can have assets up to $137,400.  

The income and asset standards apply at any age when it comes to applying for Medicaid, but they come into sharper focus for those who have worked until retirement and may need the services of a nursing home or other assistance that they cannot otherwise afford. 

Medicaid Basics: The Look Back & the Look Ahead 

Medicaid is designed as “the payer of last resort,” so when it comes to qualifying, the plan’s administrators will look back over your previous five years of financial transactions. If they determine that you’re given away assets in order to qualify for Medicaid, they can deny your application until five years have passed since the last transfer. 

Though one’s home is generally exempted from the Medicaid asset threshold up to a certain equity limit, when the Medicaid recipient passes away, the government can come after the equity in their home to pay back what the program has provided in benefits.  

Therefore, during the five-year look-back period, you cannot gift your home to someone else unless the transfer is made to a spouse, a child under the age of 21, a child of any age who is blind or totally disabled, a sibling who has an equity interest in the home, or a child who resided in the home and provided assistance to you for two years so you could avoid needing nursing-home placement. 

In other words, if you know or sense that you’re going to need Medicaid assistance, you need to plan ahead. Reach out to a skilled estate planning attorney for guidance. 

Pre-Planning for Medicaid 

You can transfer certain assets within the five years prior to your needing the assistance of Medicaid, but that requires careful planning. To prevent the Medicaid program from using your assets to disqualify you, or later seizing your assets to repay for the services provided, you can place your assets in what is called a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust (MAPT). However, the transfer into the trust must be made five years before applying for Medicaid. 

There are also ways to protect income from disqualifying you by creating a Qualified Income Trust, also known as a Miller Trust. Pooled Income Trusts are offered by nonprofit organizations and are similar to Miller Trusts. Money that goes into either of these trusts is not considered income for Medicaid qualification purposes. 

The most essential point is that you need to plan for every contingency in your life. If you retire and suddenly need living and health care assistance beyond what Medicare provides, or what you can afford, you may be forced to turn to Medicaid. When you do, you will come face to face with the realities of the asset and income thresholds established by the program.

medicaid pre planning

Medicaid Planning Attorneys Serving Reading, Pennsylvania

Elderly individuals who suddenly need Medicaid to pay for nursing home or in-home assistance are not the only ones who may need asset and income protection strategies. If you have a child who is blind or disabled and needs long-term care, you also will need to do some comprehensive asset and income protection planning. If you foresee the eventual need for Medicaid for you or a loved one in Pennsylvania, reach out to Curran Estate & Elder Law, PLLC for a consultation. We can help you move forward.

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Client Success Stories

This law firm helped our family with a complicated situation of one parent in a nursing facility and the other parent living at home. Thank you so much for your help and compassion..
Maidmariondesign
Maidmariondesign
January 6, 2024.
I can not say enough about how thankful my brother and I are for the help we have received from Susan, Lois and Sean for our elderly Aunt. When we first met with them, our Aunt was in the process of moving from an independent living situation into personal care. To our dismay, the care she received after this move was extremely inadequate and bordered on neglect. Susan spent hours helping us find and set up appointments with several other personal care facilities and we were able to move her within a week and a half. Once she was settled in, Lois worked with our Aunt to make sure her will and living will were up to date. Susan and Lois were so caring and patient with both our Aunt and ourselves, they made a very stressful situation much easier to handle. Sean has also been a huge help as we navigate selling our Aunt's property. We have been extremely satisfied with all aspects of guidance and services provided for the care of our Aunt.
Tammy Taylor
Tammy Taylor
December 12, 2023.
Recently, I had some concerns around elder law and Sean walked me through of all them, in detail, and helped me understand what to expect in coping with the cost of providing care to an aging parent. The matter was handled with the utmost empathy and professionalism and I would highly recommend their offices to anyone.
Olivia Jaindl
Olivia Jaindl
December 6, 2023.
I cannot express how grateful I am to Rose and Angela for all of their hard work during the estate/probate process! They were so diligent yet caring, professional yet approachable. They were always there for questions - of which there were many - and concerns. This is the team of wonderful ladies you need to help with your estate planning and probate - HIGHLY recommend them!
Kelly Carbonara
Kelly Carbonara
November 13, 2023.
The staff is always extremely pleasant and helpful. Rose Kennedy does a fabulous job of taking the time to explain everything, more than once if need be, and willing to answer any questions.
Lisa Care
Lisa Care
September 1, 2023.
They were very kind and helpful to my brother and me. They took the time to review our situation and offered us options. Highly recommend their services!!! Thanks. 😎
Kurt Manderbach
Kurt Manderbach
September 1, 2023.
This lawfirm is excellent. They are so knowledgeable and experienced in estate planning. Sarah at the front desk is responsive, welcoming and helpful. Rose Kennedy is a top notch attorney with a strong attention to detail, very knowledgeable in her field, great at presenting information in an easy to understand manner and very compassionate. We highly recommend Curran.
Leo and Lily
Leo and Lily
August 22, 2023.
When my father passed away in March 2022, I had never lost an immediate family member, and I was unprepared for the deluge of paperwork that followed. I also was not prepared for the way that grief would make simple things extra difficult. Luckily, my dad had set up a trust with Sean Curran’s guidance in 2016. It not only protected his assets, but it allowed us to work with Rose Kennedy and Angela Young for the estate administration. I truly do not know what we would have done without the kindness and guidance of Rose and Angela. I will never forget talking with Rose from the bathroom of my dad’s hospice room. It was far past office hours, but she was calmly determined to help me understand what steps I needed to take next. She even texted me after the call with detailed instructions in case I was unable to remember because of my emotional state. My gratitude for her compassion and patience continued to grow throughout the following year as she and Angela continuously went above and beyond to help us with every challenge that arose as we sold our dad’s house, filed inheritance taxes, and encountered numerous other tasks that I never could have figured out without their step-by-step guidance. I will always have a special place in my heart for the calmness that Rose and Angela brought me throughout the overwhelming and emotional process of losing a parent. Every person I’ve encountered at Curran Estate and Elder Law has been professional, helpful, and kind. I can’t imagine going through this process without their support and wisdom. Thank you!
Cindi Delinsky
Cindi Delinsky
July 29, 2023.
Curran Estate & Elder Law handled my fathers estate for me. They were incredibly helpful and answered all of my questions. I did very little, everything was completed by them. I would strongly suggest if your looking for an Attorney to handle your parents affairs, give Curran Estate & Elder Law a call!
KIM STRICKER
KIM STRICKER
July 26, 2023.
I would highly recommend Curran Estate Elder Care. They guided and helped with our estate planning, protection of assets, writing of our wills, power of attorney documentation and also care management for my spouse. They offer a great support system. Great people to work with.
Lil Myers
Lil Myers
July 20, 2023.
Curran Estate & Elder Law, PLLC

1212 Liggett Ave.
Reading, PA 19611

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