Medicaid (Medi-Cal) Planning
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What is Medi-Cal Planning?
Medi-Cal planning consists of using the rules of the California Departments of Health Care Services to create a future plan which allows individuals to maximize their Medi-Cal (Medicaid) benefits by staying within available asset limits. There are different ways this can be accomplished including transferring and re-titling assets. However, one of the most common ways to maximize benefits is to spend down.
What is a spend-down?
A Spend Down literally involves “spending down” funds until the recipient is within the allowable Medi-cal asset limits; $2,000 (if unmarried) or $3,000 (if married). Spend downs can also be used when an individual is on SSI and is set to receive a settlement or an inheritance that might not be large enough to put in a first party special needs trust. The goal is to complete the spend down within a calendar month, so as to avoid any interruption or cancellation of government benefits.
How can your office help me with a spend down?
Although it is possible to report a spend down on your own, it is recommended that individuals consult with an attorney’s office which is familiar with the often complex rules of Social Security and Medi-Cal. Our office takes your receipts from the month or months you have been completing your spend down and compiles them into a report which we send to Social Security and/or Medi-Cal, proving that you have spent down the money according to the rules and that you are under the resource limits.
What can a spend down pay for?
Spend downs can pay for a huge range of items including a house, food, personal items, clothes, etc. However, whatever the spend down purchases must be directly used for the person completing the spend down. In other words you cannot purchase gifts or donate the money you are spending down.
For more information on Medi-Cal planning and spend downs please call our office at (858) 689-0613 or email us your questions through our contact form.
* The information presented is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice on your specific situation.