Temecula and Murrieta Elder Lawyers: Medi-Cal’s Asset Test is Changing

Temecula and Murrieta Elder Lawyers have the following advice regarding Medi-Cal:

If you or your loved one are in the start of or middle of a health crisis, you may be wondering how you will afford the care that is now needed. One of the options people explore is whether Medi-Cal will pay for any or all of the care. 

Many people have heard that if you are a single individual you are unable to have more than $2,000 in “countable” assets. However, on July 1, 2022 the Medi-Cal asset test will significantly increase for the Aged & Disabled, medically needy with a share of cost, and long-term care Medi-Cal programs from $2,000 to $130,000 for an individual and $65,000 for each additional family member. 

Note from Temecula and Murrieta Elder Lawyers:

This asset test elimination in Medi-Cal will not change the asset limit in SSI. The SSI program is a federal program administered by the Social Security Administration. So, while individuals who have SSI could qualify for Medi-Cal if they have resources higher than $2,000, they will lose eligibility for SSI if they have higher resources for any month their resources go above the SSI limit.

Medi-Cal law also provides special protections for the spouses of Medi-Cal applicants to make sure they  have the minimum support needed to continue living in the community while their husband or wife is receiving long-term care benefits. 

In California the community spouse may keep “countable” assets up to a maximum of $137,400 (in 2022). This is the community spouse resource allowance (CSRA), 

When a married couple applies for Medi-Cal, the Medi-Cal agency analyzes the couple’s income and assets as of a particular date to determine eligibility. The date that the agency chooses for this analysis is called the “snapshot” date and it can have a major impact on a couple’s financial future. 

Medi-Cal agencies must pick a date to use to analyze the applicant’s assets. The date the agency chooses can affect how much money the applicant must spend down before qualifying for benefits and how much a spouse is able to keep. It is called the “snapshot” date because Medi-Cal is taking a picture of the applicant’s assets as of this date.

In California the snapshot date is usually the date of “application,” the day on which the Medi-Cal applicant submits its application.

Not all Medi-Cal long-term care applicants are in an institution. If the applicant is applying for Medi-Cal home care through a waiver program, the snapshot date is usually either the date of the application or the date the applicant is determined to need a nursing home level of care.  

On the snapshot date, the Medi-Cal agency counts up all of an applicant’s and his or her spouse’s assets, excluding the couple’s house. Then depending on the state’s CSRA, the agency determines how much the community spouse can keep. 

Example: If a couple has $300,000 in countable assets on the snapshot date and the state allows the spouse to keep the maximum CSRA, the Medi-Cal applicant will be eligible for Medi-Cal once the couple’s assets have been reduced to a combined figure of $139,400.  $2,000 for the applicant and $$137,400 for the community spouse. This is under the current law before the July 1, 2022, change. 

So, how will these calculations change under the new laws? If you have any questions regarding your ability to qualify or what these new laws mean for you, now is the time to reach out  to Temecula and Murrieta Elder Law Attorneys.

Proper planning can help a couple determine when the best time to apply for benefits based on the snapshot date and maximize the assets the couple can keep. If you have any further questions about the new Medi-Cal asset rules and strategies to shield your wealth, or if you’d like to have your current Long Term Care plan reviewed to make sure it still meets your needs, please contact us at our California  office at 800-244-8814 to set up a consultation.

If you have any further questions about asset protection planning and strategies to shield your wealth, or if you’d like to have your current asset protection plan reviewed to make sure it still meets your needs, please contact us at our California asset protection office at 800-244-8814 to set up a consultation.

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