New York State Budget – Medicaid Update: Good News/Bad News

On April 3, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the approved 2020/2021 budget for New York State. As it often happens in matters of budgets and law-making, what comes out is often a mixture of good news and bad news.  This year, the budget does not disappoint in that regard.

The Good News

  • Spousal refusal survives – Spousal refusal, which seems to be on the chopping block every year, has again staved off elimination. Spousal refusal is critical for married couples to allow the spouse who is not applying for Medicaid, to retain his or her own income and assets to live on – even if those amounts exceed what Medicaid permits
  • Spousal Resource Allowance unchanged – There was a push to reduce the spousal resource allowance (what a non-Medicaid spouse is permitted to retain in assets) from the current minimum of $74,820 to $25,728. Thankfully that push failed so the minimum remains at $74,820.

The Bad News

  • Financial “look back” for community Medicaid – Up until now, there has been no official “look back” when someone applies for Community Medicaid. In other words, if assets were transferred prior to applying for Community Medicaid, there were no ramifications to that person’s eligibility for Community Medicaid. Effective with applications filed as of October 1, 2020, there will now be a 30-month look back, similar to that of a Medicaid nursing home application. If the applicant made any non-exempt transfers, the applicant will be subject to a period of ineligibility (“penalty period”) based on the amount of the transfers.

This process will apply to home health care services, private duty nursing, personal care and the assisted living program (“ALP”).

Unfortunately for those requiring services in the community, this will be potentially disastrous. There will now be the added time and stress for the family in retrieving 30 months of financial documentation, also coupled with long delays in processing these more voluminous and complicated applications by the Department of Social Services (already overloaded with cases).  All of this will lead to longer waiting times for a client to get the services they need and needing to privately pay for those services during this lengthier application process.

At Russo Law Group, we remain ready and able to serve our community and assist in getting through this process. Now more than ever, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced elder law attorney to preserve your dignity and protect your assets.

Leave a Reply