Illinois citizens should be up in arms about the so-called Medicaid reforms contained in the SMART bill that recently passed the state senate and house and at press time was awaiting the signature of the governor. Those changes will adversely impact many residents of the state.
These changes were made to the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) of 2011 by the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) despite the vigorous lobbying of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR). They amount to an assault on the financial security of many citizens of the state.
Assault on Homesteads
A home held in a trust, even an individual’s personal revocable living trust, “shall no longer be considered homestead property.”
Assault on Farmland
Farmland and equipment valued over $6,000 must produce income at least 6 percent of the equity value or it is not an exempt resource.
Assault on Healthy Spouses
A healthy spouse still living at home will receive only a resource allowance of $109,560 instead of the maximum allowance of $113,640 as previously approved by the JCAR.
A healthy spouse with separate assets can no longer keep his or her separate assets and harsh measures will be implemented to pursue support payments from the healthy spouse’s income and resources. This will force the healthy spouse into poverty, unable to pay for his or her own care later in life.
Assault on Special Needs Seniors
People with special needs who are over the age of 65 can no longer participate in a federally created Omnibus Reconciliation Act Pooled Trust.
Assault on Dignified Funerals
Medicaid applicants can no longer purchase a funeral plan or legal representation, and grave markers and burial merchandise are no longer exempt resources.
Funeral burial contracts are limited to $5,874 (except for the purchase of “burial space”), and irrevocable burial contracts funded by a life insurance policy must include the state as the beneficiary.
The above items were prohibited by the JCAR in May 2001, and were not included in the final rules approved by JCAR in October 2011.
To find out how you can fight these draconian cuts, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more about my practice, visit www.ABFerraroLaw.com.