Iris Bikel, Attorney at Law

Estate Planning and Elder Care

Elder Care

Elder Care

Do you worry that as you grow older, your body will give out and you'll become ill or incapacitated?

Do you wonder how you will possibly pay for health care should something happen to you?

Are you secure in the knowledge that you have sufficient assets to cover any evetualities?

Are you worried that you will eat up your estate with medical fees rather than leave your assets to your loved ones?

Can your spouse keep joint assets or does he/she risk losing assets to pay for your care?

Government Benefits:

  • Did you know that you there are ways to receive government benefits even if you have assets and you have a current income stream?  

    • Medicare: A federal government subsidized insurance supplement program that covers certain medical expenses of people aged 65 or older.
    • Medicaid: A program funded by federal and state governments to pay for long term health care for those seriously ill or disabled who can't afford to pay for coverage on their own.
    • Social Security Benefits: A government program aimed at giving benefits to retired individuals and those with disabilities.  It is an insurance program that pays benefits to you and to certain loved ones if you worked long enough and paid social security taxes.
    • VA Benefits: If you are veteran, you may be eligible for monthly benefits as well insurance supplements and death benefits.  The VA provides for general benefits, service related disability benefits, programs for veterans with limited income, education and training for veterans, home loans and dependent, survivors' benefits, buriel and memorial benefits, insurance and other miscellaneous benefits as well.


  • Can you become eligible for Medicaid coverage?  

              The New York State Department of Health set for th the following guidelines:

    • The following is an HRA Chart with income and resource (asset) requirements for New York State:

    The chart below shows how much income you can receive in a month and the amount of resources (if applicable) you can retain and still qualify for Medicaid. The income and resource (if applicable) levels depend on the number of your family members who live with you.

    2012 Income & Resource Levels*
    Medicaid Standard for Singles
    People, Couples without
    Children & Low Income
    Net Income for Families; and Individuals who
    are Blind, Disabled or Age 65+
    Resource Level
    (Individuals who are Blind, Disabled or Age 65+ ONLY)
    Annual Monthly Annual Monthly
    1 $8,818 $735 $9,500 $792 $14,250
    2 $11,008 $918 $13,900 $1,159 $20,850
    3 $13,098 $1,092 $15,985 $1,333 $23,978
    4 $15,208 $1,268 $18,070 $1,506 $27,105
    5 $17,389 $1,450 $20,155 $1,680 $30,233
    6 $18,984 $1,582 $22,240 $1,854 $33,360
    7 $20,665 $1,723 $24,325 $2,028 $36,488
    8 $22,822 $1,902 $26,410 $2,201 $39,615
    9 $24,057 $2,005 $28,495 $2,375 $42,743
    10 $25,294 $2,108 $30,580 $2,549 $45,870
    For each additional person, add: $1,236 $104 $2,085 $174 $3,128

    *Effective January 1, 2012

    Income and Resource Levels are subject to yearly adjustments.

    You may also own a home, a car, and personal property and still be eligible. The income and resources (if applicable) of legally responsible relatives in the household will also be counted.

      Community Based Medicaid - Home Health Care Aid:

    • What is it?  For those that need assistance daily in the form of a nurse's aid but wish to stay in their home, this is a perfect solution.  Medicaid will pay for long term care at home under certain instances.
    • Income Requirements: Broadly speaking, the requirements are $792.00 per month individually.  Just because you receive more income than this amount per month, however, does not mean that you are not eligible for benefits.  It just means that you may have to contribute to some of the payments for a home health care aid.  This is called a "spendown."  If however, you have expenses that exceed this amount, Medicaid understands and will allow you to place anything over $792.00 per month in a Pooled Trust so that you can pay for these extra expenses and still receive Medicaid.
    • Assets Requirements: $14,250 for individuals and $20,850 for married couples plus a $1,500 - $3,000 burial fund for individuals and couples respectively.  There are ways to remove assets from your estate, legally, so that you can meet this requirement.  If you don't, part, but not all, of your assets may have to go towards the cost of care.
    • Home Equity: under $786,000

      Institutional Based Medicaid - Nursing Home Care Aid:
    • Income Requirements: Individuals are allowed a $50 needs allowance per month
    • Asset Requirements:  $13,800 is the maximum allowed resource figure, as shown in the chart above.  Medicaid looks back 5 years to see that no transfers were made of assets to anyone because those assets all need to be used towards Nursing Home Care payments.  However, there are exceptions to this rule and there are also ways to avoid handing over all of your assets to a Nursing Home and still benefit your heirs and receive Medicaid.




  • When can you apply for Medicare and Social Security benefits? 

    • At age 65 you can apply or earlier if you become disabled.

    • Can you automatically receive VA benefits if you are Vet?

      • You can apply for benefits at any time and if you pass away, your heirs can still apply for benefits




Relevant Links to local agencies that can assist your Elder:

Government Offices:

 Local Offices:

Disclaimer: This site is provided for informational purposes only.  While legal issues are discussed, it is not legal  advice or legal representation. We make no warranties or guarantees as to the accuracy and authenticity of the information provided herein and suggest that you speak to an attorney to discuss your particular situation.   


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