FAQ: What assets are exempt from Medicaid qualification?

by Jerrold Bartholomew

QUESTION: I have heard that you are allowed to keep some things and qualify for long-term care Medicaid. What are you allowed to keep?

ANSWER: It is true that some property may be exempt for purposes of Medicaid qualification. And indeed, converting non-exempt assets to exempt assets is one valuable method of spend down. The following items are generally exempt:

• Home, up to $500,000.00 in equity value. The home must be the principal place of residence and the resident may be required to show some intent to “return home” even if this never actually takes place.
• Household and personal belongings such as furniture, appliances, jewelry and clothing.
• One vehicle (a car or truck or van)
• Pre-paid funeral plans and burial plots
• Cash value of life insurance policies – Up to $1,500 in cash surrender values may be exempt, along with term life insurance, depending upon your situation.

With careful asset positioning, an elder law attorney may be able to help you exempt additional property. You should also know that in some cases, assets may also be excluded from being counted for Medicaid purposes.

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