You may qualify for public and private benefits through a combination of many sources. For example, you may have paid for benefits through your employer, served in the military, or have a disability under the regulations of the Social Security Administration. At Massih Law, LLC, we help the elderly and disabled qualify for and receive the benefits for which they are eligible and entitled. We represent clients in administrative hearings and appeals that may be necessary to obtain those benefits after a denial of the initial application or claim.
The public benefit system is a complicated bureaucracy that is, more often than not, frustrating for people and their families who are trying to navigate the system. As an elder law firm, we are able to focus on the process required and provide clients with the targeted advice they need to successfully complete the process. We understand the importance of a successful application and we help our clients get it right the first time.
Benefits that are administered by the government include:
- Social Security Disability Insurance
- Supplemental Security Income
- Veterans Benefits
With the average annual cost of nursing home and long-term care far exceeding most individual’s income, it is increasingly important to formulate a plan to maximize your personal assets and your benefit options so that your care is not compromised by lack of resources. We also help clients protect their personal assets while qualifying for Medicaid in the future. This can be done legally through a variety of ways including transferring assets, but proper advanced planning is critical as the regulations are strict and the penalties for a misstep are severe. In the case of Medicaid, the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA) now requires assets to be transferred from one individual to another or to a trust at least 5 years prior to applying for Medicaid.
Essentially, under the terms of the DRA, for every month’s worth of assets that are transferred that are equal in value to what is considered the average monthly cost of nursing home care, a month’s worth of ineligibility is assigned. For example, assume the average monthly cost for nursing home care is $5,000. Suppose Mrs. Jones transferred $50,000 to her son last year. Under the 5-year look back penalty under the DRA, Mrs. Jones would have to wait 10 months before she would be eligible to receive Medicaid ($50,000 divided by $5,000 = 10). The same look back penalty would apply had she transferred her assets to a trust. At Massih Law, LLC, our lawyers can help you avoid these kinds of penalties by planning early and taking advantage of allowances within the law that exempt certain kinds of assets from consideration by Medicaid.