Our office practices in the area of Long Term Care Medi-Cal Benefits Planning but I want to give a brief overview of Medi-Cal and how to qualify.

Medi-Cal Benefits is a program for individuals who are aged, low income, or disabled. There are a variety of Medi-Cal programs, one is specifically for individuals who are aged- age 65 and over or disabled, or both.

So who falls into the category of qualifying for this program? Obviously, you need to fall into the age category or be disabled, additionally, you need to meet income and asset limits. Currently, the asset limits for Long Term Care Medi-Cal are $2,000 in countable assets for a single person or $128,500 for a married couple where one spouse is seeking to qualify. When looking at countable assets it’s easier to list the exempt assets which are your home, one vehicle, and possibly an IRA account with required minimum distributions being taken out. Anything beyond this is considered a countable asset.

There is a huge difference between asset limits between a single person and a couple, the idea behind this is so that the spouse living in the community does not become impoverished. Any assets over these limits would render you ineligible. The final restriction is income, you need to be at or under the poverty line which does shift from time to time. Currently, for a single person, the income limit is $1,468 per month, for a married couple, it is $1,823. If you are above those limits there will be a share of cost which will be calculated based upon monthly income.

These are some pretty tight restrictions, however, there are ways to qualify for Long Term Care Medi-Cal if you are over the above asset restrictions. We recommend that you do not try to do this type of planning yourself as the consequences can be costly.