21 Nov How Soon Can I Qualify For Medicaid in Florida?
One of the first questions that a prospective client asks me at an initial crisis Elder Law consultation is, “How soon can I qualify for Medicaid?” The answer to this question depends on the facts of the case.
To begin with, is the applicant applying for Nursing Home Medicaid (ICP) or Community Medicaid such as Long Term Care Diversion which provides services in the home or an assisted living facility (ALF) and pays part of the cost of an ALF? If applying for ICP, then it depends on whether a Qualified Income Trust (QIT) is drafted or if the applicant is in hospice care. A QIT takes longer since the legal counsel of The Department of Children and Families (DCF) must review it. If the applicant is not in hospice care, a Level of Care (LOC) needs to be determined by The Department of Elder Affairs’s CARES Unit (CARES). When hospice is involved, it is presumed that the applicant meets the LOC. If the applicant is in an ALF, the above factors apply as well, but in addition, there is a waiting list since these programs are “Waiver” programs which means that slots must open up when funding is available. ICP Medicaid always has funding.
If the above is not confusing enough, the applicant’s county may also determine how soon an application for Medicaid can be approved. Small counties have fewer cases than larger counties so the cases can be approved in few weeks rather than months. Miami-Dade County, for example, takes two to three months for a LOC in an ICP Medicaid case compared to Manatee County which takes a few weeks to issue a LOC.
A Board Certified Elder Law Attorney, experienced in crisis Medicaid planning can help avoid unnecessary delays in the approval process by filing the case correctly utilizing the appropriate strategies and documentation. He or she can also work effectively with the DCF Caseworker so that all questions are correctly and timely answered. Furthermore, a Board Certified Elder Law Attorney with years of experience working with DCF has credibility with government caseworkers which helps the process move along.
In conclusion, the type of Medicaid case, county it is filed in, hospice status, and income level all factor into the time it will take to qualify for Medicaid in Florida. Who you hire to represent your loved one in this process is equally as important. In that respect, you should only hire a law firm that has a Florida Board Certified Elder Law Attorney, as it means that the person is a licensed attorney who has taken a specialized exam in Elder Law, in addition to a Bar Exam, and typically carries malpractice insurance.
If you have any questions concerning Medicaid, call our office for a free telephone consultation: (305) 274-0955.