Medicaid has different programs. Mostly everyone is familiar with their health insurance program. But, for our purposes, we are concerned with applying for the Medicaid Institutional Care Program (ICP) which pays for some or all long-term care costs.
https://www.dcf.state.fl.us/programs/access/docs/icp_brochure.pdf - the actual Medicaid application can be downloaded here: http://www.myflfamilies.com/service-programs/access-florida-food-medical-assistance-cash/common-access-florida-forms.
You will find the 18 page Medicaid-Eligibility Application Form. No law requires a Medicaid-planner to fill this out for you. However, the Medicaid application is long and complex. As a result, most people prefer to have a Medicaid-planning professional fill it out instead. This greatly increases the chance of your application will be error-free and that the Medicaid applicant will be approved for their Institutional Care Program benefits sooner.
Common Medicaid Application Mistakes
Medicaid laws are difficult to navigate alone and it is easy to make mistakes when filling out a Medicaid application. One common mistake is simply applying too early. Medicaid reviews your assets and income – and if you have not engaged in proper Medicaid planning, you could subject yourself to unnecessary delays and penalties. Another common Medicaid-application mistake is trying to play amateur Medicaid-planning lawyer. Many people will attempt to give away all their assets (perhaps to a close family member) in an effort bring themselves below the Medicaid-ICP qualification threshold. It is a rude awakening when they realize that Medicaid specialists know of this and specifically investigate gifts for the five years prior to the application being submitted. Trying to hide this from Medicaid is a felony (Medicaid Fraud) and when the investigating Medicaid-application processing specialist inevitably does find evidence that money or other assets were gifted away, there is a penalty period imposed.
Our Medicaid planning law firm works with former Medicaid-application processing specialists (i.e. former employees of the Medicaid agency tasked with reviewing and approving or rejecting Medicaid applications). We know what Medicaid is looking for and how best to present your case to qualify you as efficiently as possible.
Medicaid Application Efficiency: Divide and Conquer.
As Medicaid-planning attorneys, we try to do as much of the heavy lifting for you as possible. But there are certain required Medicaid-planning items that make sense for the client to handle (perhaps with the assistance of their family, estate planning attorney, or financial planner) since time is of the essence. For example locating previously-executed Will and Trust documents; powers of attorney; bank account, retirement account, and brokerage account statements are tasks that just make logical sense for the client to retrieve, rather than the elder-law attorney. However, once these items are obtained and presented to the elder law or Medicaid-planning attorney, all the heavy lifting is done on our end, including preparing all necessary documents, deploying Medicaid-qualification strategies, and filling out and following through with the Medicaid application until it is approved. We even provide you with detailed instructions on your obligations after you have been approved for Medicaid and what you need to do in order to maintain Medicaid eligibility.
What items do I bring to my medicaid lawyer meeting?
In this initial medicaid lawyer consultation article, I explain what items are needed to make the most efficient use of your time with the medicaid attorney. If you do not have all of the requested information and documents, as long as you have an educated estimate as to the value of assets and income sources, you can have a meaningful meeting with the lawyer. Items can always be gathered and produced later and the initial medicaid planning consultation should not be delayed.