The Medicaid 5-Year Look Back Period Explained

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Sechler Law Firm, LLC

Posted on

May 15, 2018

Book/Edition

Pennsylvania - Greater Pittsburgh Area

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There is nothing in Medicaid Law that causes more confusion than the 5-Year Look Back Period.
Many people mistakenly believe that you cant do any planning within 5 years of needing care. This isnt exactly true. Heres how the Look Back Period Works: If you go into a nursing home and want to apply for Medicaid benefits to pay the bill, you must be below the low asset thresholds. Many families try to transfer assets to their children so that they can qualify without spending all of their money on care. However, when you apply for Medicaid, you must report any assets that you have gifted during the last 5 years. If you have made gifts, the state will impose a penalty period, during which time Medicaid will not pay your nursing home bill. The length of the penalty period depends on the amount of the gift. This is a problem because the nursing home is providing needed care and they deserve to be paid. But if you arent eligible for Medicaid because you gave away your assets, then no one is paying their bill. This could force the nursing home to sue your children for payment. If your family has already made gifts, there are ways to fix the problem. There are also less risky options for Medicaid eligibility planning. While gifting during the 5-Year Look Back Period can be problematic, there are several other options available to protect assets, even after someone is in the nursing home. To learn more, consider attending one of our complimentary Elder Law Workshops. Register on our website at www.sechlerlawfirm.com/workshops/ or call my office at 724-564-6615 to schedule an initial consultation. Editors Note: This article was written by Tim Sechler, Esq., a Certified Elder Law Attorney and Principal of Sechler Law Firm, LLC.

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Sechler Law Firm, LLC

Elder Law 20206 State Rte 19 Ste 300, Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania, 16066

At Sechler Law Firm, LLC, our mission is to help families make great plans. A great estate plan is more than just a set of documents. It is a comprehensive and well thought out written strategy on how to deal with lifes unfortunate twists and turns. Our process first provides you with the education necessary to make informed decisions with regard to your planning. Then we put the proper documents and legal framework in place to respond to lifes unfortunate changes.Our Estate Planning law office is headquartered in Cranberry, PA. From this office, we happily serve the residents of Cranberry, Mars, Wexford, Pittsburgh, Butler and the residents of surrounding communities. As one of the regions only Certified Elder Law Attorneys, Tim Sechler and his team often assist families from across Western Pennsylvania.We understand that the pursuit of health, wealth and happiness is the goal of most families. We want you to be able to pursue these goals, or whatever goals you may have, knowing that you have a back up plan if life throws you a curveball like a death, disability or nursing home need. With education as our foundation, we will work with you to make decisions to Shield What Matters Most to you.Practice AreasEstate PlanningCustomized planning doesnt have to be difficult for you. We strive to make the process easy. The first step is to identify your concerns so that we can make suggestions regarding your plan.Elder Law Crisis PlanningA significant percentage of our practice is dedicated to helping families navigate the long term care maze. We help with Asset Protection and eligibility for Medicaid and Veterans Benefits.Trust And Estate AdministrationIf you have lost a loved one, we can help you take the necessary steps to help handle their affairs.Tims estate planning practice is focused on guiding clients through the complicated maze of balancing transfer strategies, wealth preservation, and family values in the planning process.Tim is a Combat Veteran, having served in Afghanistan as a member of the West Virginia Air National Guard. Prior to leaving the military, Tim had attained the rank of Staff Sergeant. His experiences in the military have led him to thoroughly enjoy working with Veterans and their families.Tim received his law degree from Duquesne University School of Law, and his Master of Business Administration from the Duquesne University Donahue Graduate School of Business. He received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from West Virginia University, majoring in Finance. Tim is licensed to practice Law in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.Recently, Tim has been seen frequently as a guest on KDKAs Pittsburgh Today Live, and has been quoted in several local print publications. For the last several years, he has been honored to be chosen as a Super Lawyers Rising Star, an award given to less than 2.5% of Tims peers. Tim enjoys educating the public about Elder Law and Estate Planning. He has spoken to thousands of people regarding estate planning and has averaged more than 50 speaking events per year.Tim became a Certified Elder Law Attorney* in 2017. A CELA is more than just an attorney who specializes in the field of elder law. CELAs are committed, through certification, to maintaining and improving their proficiency with continual practice and continuing legal education. Becoming certified in elder law validates a lawyers specialty to handle issues that affect senior citizens.Tim and his wife, Robyn, are raising three beautiful children in their home in Mars, PA.*Certified as an Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation.