Medicaid planning: What assets are exempt in New York?

There's a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to qualifying for Medicaid in New York. A number of aging individuals may be confused as to what assets they are allowed to own and still qualify for Medicaid, since, for example, many have mistakenly been informed that they cannot receive benefits if they own their own home. In reality, there are several assets a New York resident can own, as the skilled guidance of a Medicaid planning attorney in advance can ensure qualification requirements are legally met.

Individuals applying for Medicaid are limited to $2,000 or less in cash when determining Medicaid eligibility. This amount does not include funds set aside for funeral and burial costs. If the funeral or memorial service is pre-planned or if burial plots are pre-purchased, the entire value is excluded as an asset. If not, a separate bank account for these funds is allowed to contain $1,500 that will be not be counted against Medicaid eligibility.

When it comes to homes and personal property, other exemptions apply as well, as federal law stipulates that property essential to self-support is excluded, regardless of value. This could include farms or rental properties, or anything that generates income necessary for the individual to support him or herself, with some further stipulations. As for the home itself, houses valued at less than $500,000 – or $750,000 if a spouse or children live there – are also excluded, as are automobiles of any value.

Of course, these are the most basic rules, and only a few of the many surrounding Medicaid qualification. With the five-year look-back period and a host of other regulations involved with qualifying for Medicaid assistance, it's best to begin planning now rather than chance expensive complications later. The knowledgeable guidance of a Long Island New York Medicaid planning attorney now can save aging individuals and their families both money and stress later.

Source:, "Asset Limits to Qualify for Medicaid", K. Gabriel Heiser, Accessed on Jan. 6, 2018

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