Frequently Asked Questions

These are questions commonly asked to our Nebraska Elder Planning advisers.

Q: If I'm already in a nursing home and would like to receive Medicaid benefits. Can I still protect my assets?

     A: In most situations, all of the stay-at-home spouse's assets can be protected if the proper steps are taken

Q: I made a gift within the last five years and now I am living in a nursing home. Am I still eligible to receive assistance from Medicaid?

     A: Yes. It is still possible to receive assistance from Medicaid, but all gifts in the last five years will be reviewed by the state agency that administers the Medicaid program.​

Q: If I receive Medicaid assistance, can I protect assets by transferring them to my adult children?

      A: If gifts are made to children without the proper steps being taken, this could jeopardize the parent's eligibility by creating an ineligibility period. It can be done, but it usually must be coordinated with one important step.​

Q: Why haven't my other advisors been able to help me with Nebraska Medicaid questions?

     A: The Medicaid application process can be complicated. Most advisors have never been trained in the intricacies of this system. In fact, many advisors are putting clients in situations that are jeopardizing their eligibility.

Q: Why can't Health and Human Services show me how to protect my assets if I am on Medicaid?

     A: The case workers are simply overworked and it is not their job to assist you in protecting your assets.

Q: Can a living trust protect my assets from a nursing home stay?

     A: Many people often establish a revocable trust, which is often referred to as living trust, for legitamate reasons like avoiding probate or for management purposes, but a major misconception is that these trusts serve an additional purpose of protecting assets like the family farm.

This is incorrect.  Unless the spouse is actually working the farm for their livelyhood, a property held by this type of trust would be considered a "countable" resource in the eyes of Health and Human Services, which administers Medicaid.  In fact, Nebraska Health and Human Services has taken the position that even a home in which a spouse is living would no longer be an exempt asset if held by a revocable trust.

Q: Are there special protections if my spouse needs long-term care? or, am I limited to only $4,000?

     A: The Spousal Impoverishment Protection Law has set certain guidelines that protect minimum incomeand asset levels.

For example, if the spouse at home gets less than $1,891.25 a month, this spouse would get to keep the nursing home spouse's income to the extent that the income for the spouse at home is at least $1,891.25.

And for assets there is a minimum threshold of $23,184 that the spouse at home would be able to keep, plus the spouse in the nursing home would be able to keep $4,000.  So if a couple has assets below $27,184 - assuming all other criteria are met - the spouse in the nursing home would typically be able to qualify for Medicaid assistance.   If a couple has more assets than this, without proper planning, the couple may be required to spend down their assets.

Have some questions of your own?