What exactly do I mean, will you need Long Term Care?  Sometimes you get a warning or start showing some symptoms that help may be needed. Perhaps it is a struggle to get a shower or bath.  Perhaps you are a little unstable on your feet or you have already had a few falls.  How is your nutrition?  Are you eating healthy food or making some not so great choices that are easy to snack on?  Have you had a hospital admission?  Or perhaps more than one trip to the Emergency Room.

Sometimes the need just happens, there is an accident or a stroke and the recovery is not successful enough for you to live independently.

What is Long Term Care?

Long Term Care can mean someone coming to your home and help take care of you, assisted living care or nursing home care.  In Pinellas County and the surrounding area the average cost of nursing home care is approximately $6,500 – $9,500 per month not including medicines and supplies.  The average cost of assisted living is approximately $2,600 – $3,500 per month.  Memory care and secured assisted living care averages $4,000 – $7,000 per month.  In-home care varies depending on the number of hours per day you need assistance and the level of expertise the home care provider must have to care for you appropriately.  Generally, homemaker/companion services are approximately $17 – $20 per hour, they are not allowed to provide personal care but assist with daily household tasks, transportation and shopping.  Home health aides and/or certified nursing assistants are approximately $20 – $24 per hour, they are allowed to provide personal care assistance with bathing and dressing, in addition to household tasks.  If you need assistance with medication administration/management a Registered Nurse (RN) is required to dispense medicine or setup a weekly pill box reminder system.

How can you become eligible for Medicaid?

 You must need the Level of Care (LOC) you are requesting.

  1. Your income must be within the Medicaid limits. 2016 Income limit is $2,199/month.
  2. Your assets must be within the Medicaid limits. Single applicants, asset limit is $2,000. Married couple, asset limit is $2,000 for the applicant, and $119,220.00 for the community spouse.
  3. Other than for nursing home care, you must receive a “slot” from the waiting list to begin receiving Medicaid Long Term Care services at home or at assisted living.

Is it too late for me to protect my assets and qualify for Medicaid?

There are many planning opportunities available that allow individuals and married couples to plan ahead and be in position to qualify for Medicaid.  There are also crisis-planning strategies available if a person suddenly needs long term care.  Each situation has its unique set of facts; the strategy to become eligible for Medicaid is determined on a case-by-case basis.  This planning also provides peace of mind that assets are available to pay for services Medicaid does not cover, and protects assets for the family members.  We can assist you with Medicaid planning if needed or wanted.

When should you call our office for an appointment?

Right now.  Your Durable Power of Attorney should provide authorization for your named Agent to be able to complete Medicaid planning on your behalf.  If that is not the case, you need to complete a new Durable Power of Attorney document.

If you have a hospitalization and they are recommending a rehabilitation stay call our office immediately.  The rehabilitation stay provides you the opportunity to apply for Long Term Care Medicaid benefits and then transition back to your home or assisted living and have Medicaid help pay for the services you need.


There is a waiting list (except as mentioned above) for Medicaid Long Term Care benefits in your home or at assisted living.  We have had clients wait over two years to receive a “slot” for Medicaid benefits at home or at assisted living.

When you call the office, be sure to tell them Linda told you to call!  We look forward to seeing you soon.


By Linda R. Chamberlain, Board Certified Elder Law Attorney