Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) allow individuals with financial difficulties to access essential healthcare services. However, qualifying for these programs isn’t always simple.

If you’ve ever reviewed the requirements for filing—or even websites meant to simplify the process—you know that it can be quite complex. Fortunately, a long-term care planning lawyer in Texas can help you.

At Shields Law Firm in Houston, our entire focus is on helping individuals with special needs get the help they need. Our legal professionals work only in this area, so they know how difficult it can be to access government benefits.

Fortunately, even the most stringent administrative requirements will not necessarily bar you or a loved one from receiving benefits. Contact us today to learn how we can help.

What is Medicaid Planning?

Medicaid planning is a service provided by professionals skilled in preparing applicants to submit their Medicaid applications. This is sometimes a simple process. In fact, merely assisting someone in gathering and preparing the appropriate documents for submission falls under this umbrella. Of course, things can also be much more complicated.

For instance, a Texas Medicaid planning attorney may need to help a client restructure all their assets. This is because there are strict eligibility limits when applying for Medicaid. For a family of two in Texas, it’s possible your household could make less than $40,000 a year and still not be eligible for Texas Medicaid.

If you’re living with a disability or have a child with special needs, you know that $40,000 in a year doesn’t go a long way. In fact, the cost of raising a child with special needs can be four times the national average of raising a child without disabilities.

This could make asset restructuring a family’s only way of accessing essential Medicaid benefits. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize this is an option—or they simply don’t know how to go about the process. That’s where a Medicaid planning attorney in Texas can prove so invaluable.

At Shields Law Firm, assisting those with special needs is all we do, so we’ve got extensive experience in helping clients plan for their Medicaid applications and appealing denials. Reach out today.

Is Medicaid Planning Legal in Texas?

When someone hears the term “asset restructuring,” they immediately think, Is this legal?

This is a valid concern.

On the surface, it sounds like a person may be trying to lie about their assets to attain government benefits they’re not entitled to. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Retaining the services of a Medicaid planning lawyer in Texas is 100% legal. In fact, there are some instances where it’s absolutely necessary.

That’s because Medicaid professionals who aren’t licensed attorneys cannot provide legal advice. Texas is one of the few states in the nation where there are explicit statutory requirements regarding this. While someone can help gather documentation and submit an application on your behalf, they cannot create a plan for becoming income- or asset-eligible unless they’re not licensed to practice law.

What Are the Benefits of Long-term Care Planning?

There are many benefits of long-term care planning, but the most obvious is an improved chance of securing benefits.

Some other benefits include:

  • Peace of mind — Having a plan in place for long-term care can give you and your loved ones peace of mind knowing that you are prepared for any potential future care needs.
  • Financial security — Long-term care can be expensive, and planning ahead can help you prepare financially for the costs associated with long-term care.
  • Control over your care — Planning ahead allows you to decide the type of care you want to receive and who will provide it, giving you more control over your care in the future.
  • Reduced burden on loved ones — By planning ahead for long-term care, you can reduce the burden on your loved ones, who may otherwise have to make difficult decisions about your care without your input.
  • Preservation of assets — Long-term care can quickly deplete your assets, but planning ahead can help you preserve your assets for your heirs.
  • Access to better care — With a long-term care plan in place, you may be able to access higher quality care than you would otherwise be able to afford.
  • Avoidance of institutional care — With a plan in place for long-term care, you may be able to receive care in your own home or a community setting rather than being placed in an assisted living facility or nursing home.
  • Better overall health outcomes — Early planning for long-term care allows you to make healthy lifestyle choices that can help prevent or delay the need for long-term care.

Medicaid Planning in Texas: Is Hiring an Attorney Necessary?

If you’re researching Medicaid planning in Texas, you’ve undoubtedly wondered whether you need an attorney. After all, don’t plenty of people apply on their own?

While this is true, it also helps explain why one in five Texans are not covered by any health insurance plan—and why half of all children with disabilities don’t have CHIP benefits. Requirements for the program are stringent to prevent abuse, but they also make it difficult for those with legitimate needs to get benefits.

This is a particular issue in Texas. In 2017, the Austin American-Statesman declared, “Texas Medicaid is failing children with disabilities.” The state has the 14th highest rate of people living with disabilities in the nation, yet it’s near the bottom of states based on Medicaid coverage.

The simple fact is that you very well may have an uphill battle qualifying for benefits in our state, but with a Texas Medicaid planning attorney, the process can become simpler.

How Our Long-term Care Planning Attorneys Help You

Long-term care planning can be a complex and emotional process, but with the help of experienced attorneys, you can confidently navigate the legal and financial aspects.

Here are three ways Shields Law helps you:

  1. Medicaid application assistance — The Medication application process alone can be stressful and time-consuming, even when it’s apparent that you or a loved one qualify. Let a legal professional handle this process to minimize the risk of denials due to application mistakes.
  2. Help meeting Medicaid limits — Asset transfer and other strategies can help you meet Medicaid’s asset and income requirements. Remember, exceeding these limits does not necessarily mean you can’t qualify. Of course, you should speak with a legal professional to ensure you’re within the confines of the law (I-3000, Exceptions to the Transfer of Assets).
  3. Protecting assets and maximizing income — Depending on your situation, dropping below Texas Medicaid income and asset guidelines may be possible without losing properties. Adult applicants may also be able to retain assets to prevent a spousal impoverishment in an effort to meet Medicaid guidelines.

Don’t make the mistake of believing that this list is exhaustive. If you need assistance handling any issues regarding your Medicaid application, document gathering, decision appeal, or other hurdles you’re encountering, the legal professionals at Shields Law Firm may be able to help. Schedule a consultation to learn more.

Contact a Medicaid Planning Lawyer in Texas Today

Nearly 90 million Americans use Medicaid and CHIP benefits, but many people who are eligible for such benefits do not receive them. Sadly, this is often due to a lack of understanding of how the system works.

Looking at the requirements to receive Medicaid and thinking, “Well, we can’t meet the requirements,” is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Speaking with a legal professional may help you access benefits you never knew you were entitled to.

At Shields Law Firm, our Texas special needs planning lawyers have spent years advocating for and representing individuals with disabilities. We understand that Medicaid is a lifeline for many, and if you or your loved one are denied benefits, it can leave you with significant financial difficulties and wondering how to move forward.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation. Our Medicaid planning lawyers in Texas can help you understand your rights.