Nursing home Medicaid is a federal program administered by the Georgia Department of Community Health that pays for nursing home care for those who have a medical need for such care. Along with having a medical need for nursing home care, a nursing home Medicaid applicant must meet asset and income requirements. The asset requirements for an applicant to receive nursing home Medicaid are stringent. A nonmarried applicant for nursing home Medicaid can only have $2,000 in unexempt resources to qualify for nursing home Medicaid. Unexempt resources include all types of savings, from cash, checking, CD’s, investments, and bonds. The process an applicant goes through to reduce their assets to a level to qualify for nursing home Medicaid is known as a spenddown. A spenddown of assets is a methodical reduction in assets should be under the advice of a Georgia attorney focusing on elder law.
One of the methods that can be used to reduce assets for Medicaid qualification is setting aside a burial fund. If certain rules are followed, a Medicaid applicant may set aside up to $10,000 in a savings account and designate it for burial expenses. The $10,000 that is placed in a burial fund doles not count against Medicaid qualification. The amount of money that is designated as a burial fund can affect the amount of life insurance a Medicaid recipient can retain, so the services of a qualified elder law attorney should be sought before any planning takes places. The funding of a burial account is just one way to protect assets and qualify for nursing home Medicaid.