Medicaid Spend Down Planning

When you go into a nursing home and want Medicaid to pay the bill, you must be below the government’s asset thresholds. Unfortunately, you essentially must go broke before the government will help pay for your care.

When someone with assets goes into a nursing home, they must pay privately for care or take other legitimate actions to get the countable assets low enough for eligibility. The process of decreasing assets to become eligible for benefits is called Medicaid Spend Down. This is not a “Do-It-Yourself” project.
Unfortunately, the Medicaid eligibility rules are extremely complex. Many families make mistakes during this process and end up losing their hard-earned assets. Other families are too fearful to take any action at all. They simply use up all their resources on care.
The proper approach is to get competent legal advice on what steps a Medicaid applicant is allowed to take according to the rules. Simply stated, if you follow Medicaid’s rules, there may be legitimate strategies to protect assets. If you break their rules it will cost your family substantial funds.
Certified Elder Law Attorneys can help your family understand the government’s rules. Perhaps more importantly, they also know some exceptions to the rules. A good elder law attorney guides you through the spend down process and helps you file the Medicaid application. Then, if necessary, the attorney will contend with Medicaid on your behalf.
If you have a loved one paying privately for a nursing home, give us a call at (724) 841-1393 or visit

Editor’s Note: This article was submitted by Tim Sechler, Esq., a Certified Elder Law Attorney and Principal of Sechler Law Firm, LLC.