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Medicaid in Michigan
So here is the problem. If she has been diagnosed already, chances are any legal paperwork she signs will not hold water. You would have to see what she signed before she was diagnosed. You will probably have to be her POA or representative. But yes, please try for medicaid. If she was already established with medicare then it would be a matter of extra paperwork and talking to legal aid or something.
I am so sorry. This is difficult enough. But talk to medicare or state assistance and see what they say.
I would start by talking to her doctor and a social worker through any programs available.
An Elder law attorney in the state where she lives, would be the best first option. You mention your step-father did a "spend down "( or did he just waste their assets?), so having documents in place for you to take care of her , if you want, should he take off or take her Social security when it is time to pay for placement.
The attorney can also determine if she has the capacity to sign the documents. That differs from a medical diagnosis. And by time of day , as we've all seen.
Medicare will not pay for memory care or in home care like she'll need. Depending on where she would be placed, near him or you- I'd start looking at memory units, rare they take medicaid right off the bat- most want private pay for a while.
Also, call the Alz helpline, they have experience counselors that can give you ideas.
Yes, he’s just spending as he’s always done and it’s bc he’s got a spending problem. We knew he was a spender but in 2020 when this all started we found out how bad it was and he’s got complete control of their finances and always has. I really don’t know how to handle. Other than the Alzheimer’s diagnosis she’s really healthy and aside from her new dementia med and cholesterol med she’s off everything else bc everything is normal. She’s eating well and as of now does all her basic care needs. I know this could change fast so trying to get ahead of the inevitable. He’s super secretive on everything especially finances so really at a loss on how to handle. There’s no assets other than a car he just bought out lease. Nothing in the house we bought for them to live in that’s worth anything. Small small proceed from house they sold that he’s going thru fast. This is something I never thought I’d have to deal with. He’s 92 and declining but spending is his hobby and clearly doesn’t care if there’s anything left for my Mom.
Hello bmancini and a very warm welcome to you. I can certainly understand your concern and it is an advantage that you are seeking information in advance of need.
There are some concerning issues in what you have shared and it appears that you and your family would be best served by seeking the advice of an Elder Law Attorney. There are many bits and pieces that go into such planning and the specialty of an Elder Law Attorney is really necessary for how to position oneself for best outcome.
If you do not have a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare as well as a Durable Power of Attorney for Finance for when your Loved Ones (LOs) cannot conduct their own business, that is something that would benefit you and your parents; the attorney can also address that. From what you have written, it appears your mother is still able to legally sign her name to such a document. Sometimes one parent will approve of getting the DPOAs for future protection, and the other parent may not. It appears it would protect your mother if she would permit you to be the person to make her decisions within her DPOAs.
NOTE: You father's spending can possibly be a problem when the time comes to apply for Long Term Medicaid. There is a "five year look back"period regarding finances for the qualification period in Michigan where if, during that time period, it appears someone is trying to hide funds, give away funds, etc. It can cause them to be disqualified for qualifying for Medicaid benefits for a period of time. You really do need to see an Elder Law Attorney to assess and guide this.
ALSO: A person who has been diagnosed with dementia can indeed sign legal documents up to a certain point in their disease; an Elder Law Attorney can assess that capability. An application for Long Term Medicaid does not require the applicant's signature; the family member or other person applying for them can sign the application.
The type of Medicaid it appears you are speaking of, would be Long Term Medicaid. That is different from regular Medicaid for medical purposes. Long Term Medicaid is what is needed for long term custodial care in a facility and in some states, also for qualifying for some limited care programs in the home. NOTE: In most, if not all states, one does not apply for Long Term Medicaid until the need arises and the patient is going into a care facility or is requesting another long term care benefit for part time home program services. It is not applied for far in advance of need. Your attorney can advise you on that.
Here is a good current reference for Long Term Medicaid in the State of Michigan for the year 2022, (important to use year in searches as criteria changes over time). This table will give you an idea of what is necesssary for application approval:
I wonder; your father is into his 90's, he is mishandling money and from what you write, it appears his judgment and reasoning may be an issue. Is it possible that your father could also be experiencing cognitive changes affecting his judgment?
Even if it is a bit early to apply for Medicaid, an Elder Law Attorney can be very helpful in providing the knowledge you need and assessing how best to situate the parents for best outcome.
Your parents are blessed in having such a caring person as yourself by their sides. Let us know how you are and how things are going. We are all here to help support one another and that now includes you too.