What is a countable asset?

For Medical Assistance (i.e. Medicaid) eligibilty, Maryland will examine the amount of assets held by the applicant and by the applicant’s spouse (if any).  The most the applicant may have at the time of filing is $2,500 and the most a spouse may have (currently) is $109,560.  The bigger question is what is a counable asset?  This may seem to be very straightforward but is absolutely not an easy question to answer.  For example, we often are asked if automobiles are countable assets.  The answer is no, so long as it is not a luxury automobile (however, there is no set defination of a luxury automobile).  Some assets are relatively straightfoward and it is easy to see how they are countable assets.  This includes bank accounts in the applicant’s name.  But what about burial plots?  The applicant is allowed to have 2 burial plots.  But, what if he has his name on 3 burial plots, then what?  That’s when you call your elder law attorney.  What happens if I jointly hold my account with mom and I contributed my own money into mom’s account.  Is “my money” part of her countable asset.  That is when you call your elder law attorney.  What happens if my mom has a reverse mortgage on her house, is this a countable asset?  Again, you need to call your elder law attorney.  The point is, this area of elder law is confusing, it changes, and the deteermination of what is a countable asset does vary state to state.  And, most importantly, the determination of a countable assets will be absolutely critical when filing the Medical Assistance application and determining which assets can be saved.

2 thoughts on “What is a countable asset?

  1. Sandra Hastings

    We have some bonds and stocks around $110,000.00 Can i pay off our home before my husband is admitted to a nursing home. His dementia makes it almost positive he will be admitted before 3 years pass.

  2. Adam Roa Post author

    There are a host of items that are properly characterized as “spend down.” That is, there are a host of expenses that may be paid without triggering any of the Medicaid penalty provions which apply to transers within 5 years of applying for Medical Assistance benefits. Paying off a mortgage in your name is a proper spend down item. However, that may not be the best course of action. My recommendation is to give an elder law attorney a call to go through your options.

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