SSDI, SSI, Estate Planning, Elder Law & Medi-Cal Planning in California

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Call Today and Get Answers to the Most Frequently Asked Questions About Losing Assets to Nursing Home Care

  • Can a nursing home take your house in California?
  • How much does it cost to stay in a nursing home in California?
  • How do I protect my inheritance from a nursing home?
  • What happens to your savings when you go into a nursing home?
  • How do you avoid losing money in a nursing home in California?
  • How to protect parents’ assets from nursing home in California
  • How do I protect my inheritance from a nursing home, in California?
  • What happens to your savings when you go into a nursing home, in California?
  • In California, does putting your home in a trust protect it from Medicaid?
  • What counts as deprivation of assets in California?
  • How can you prevent deliberate deprivation of assets in California?
  • Can Hiring an Elder Law Attorney Help Preserve Assets?
  • How Does an Attorney Help California Seniors Preserve Their Assets?

Should You Hire an Elder Law Attorney to Assist with Estate Preservation?

Elder law attorneys like James Dolenga specialize in helping seniors with long-term care planning, estate planning, and government benefits. He has experience in Medicaid planning, understands each California’s rules and regulations, and helps families by identifying strategies to legally obtain and maintain eligibility for public benefits.

Medi-Cal is a complicated benefit for residents of California. It’s important to seek the advice of a seasoned professional who understands the rules, processes, and provisions under these laws.

Without professional guidance, families risk losing the assets and inheritance they worked so hard to create.

James Dolenga will create a well-written, customized estate plan, so you can ensure that your wishes are carried out and your goals are achieved while protecting your family and legacy. Get help today.

Research shows that having a professional representative can boost your chances of getting Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Make sure you’re represented.

Who is Eligible for Medi-Cal in Los Angeles?

Many people are wrongfully told (or assume) that they must be financially destitute to qualify for Medi-Cal / Medicaid for long-term care.  Clearly, individuals can’t just give away, transfer, or quitclaim away property as this will trigger severe penalties. 

The Medi-Cal / Medicaid law has many exceptions and loopholes which can allow families to preserve most of their accumulated assets and wealth.

For institutional / nursing home / skilled nursing care, there is no income limit. 

Medi-Cal will however require that excess income be applied to care as a Share of Cost. 

Depending on the level of care needed, the applicant may still end up using their entire monthly income and still need to spend down from other assets.

Asset limits (real estate other than a primary residence, bank accounts, investment accounts, certain retirement accounts, etc.) are listed as $2,000 for a single applicant and $3,000 for married applicants when both are applying. 

For married applicants when only one spouse is applying, the non-applicant spouse is allowed to retain up to $137,400 (called the Community Spouse Resource Allowance) plus the $2,000 allowance for the institutional/applicant spouse.

For assistance under the “waivers” programs, which covers caregivers, in-home supportive services, and assisted living, the income limits are $1,564/mos for the applicant and $2,106 for a couple when both are applying.  The asset limits remain the same.

Applicants are told that they must “spend down” their assets until they get below these asset limits. 

Again, the Medi-Cal / Medicaid rules have very explicit carve-outs and exceptions that can allow an applicant or their family to protect hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars with proper planning. 

That’s where we come in. 

We will work with you to legally protect those assets and to shepherd the Medi-Cal / Medicaid application through the government bureaucracy from application to approval. 

Once qualified, we can work with you to further protect those assets from Medi-Cal / Medicaid recovery after death.

Medicaid Planning & Elder Law Services Near Los Angeles

Our law firm provides comprehensive, personalized, and tailored legal services to meet all of our client’s estate planning needs. Our firm utilizes a variety of tools to help families preserve their assets for generations to come. Specifically, we work with our clients to minimize estate taxes and ultimately avoid the lengthy and expensive probate process by utilizing Wills (simple & complex), Powers of Attorney, Living Trusts, Living Wills, Family Limited Partnerships, Irrevocable Trusts, and Charitable Gifting Strategies.

When it comes to Medicaid & Medi-Cal Services & Elder Law, our goal is to protect our clients’ nest eggs. We ensure that our clients qualify for Medicaid services and other government medical benefits so that their estates are protected from expensive nursing home and hospital bills. If you become disabled and unable to work, we will help you determine if you qualify for SSD coverage. As a Social Security disability lawyer, James Dolenga will also inform you about the monthly disability benefits and health coverage for a deceased, disabled or retired worker’s disabled dependents.

About California

California, a western U.S. state, stretches from the Mexican border along the Pacific for nearly 900 miles. Its terrain includes cliff-lined beaches, redwood forest, the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Central Valley farmland and the Mojave Desert. The city of Los Angeles is the seat of the Hollywood entertainment industry. Hilly San Francisco is known for the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island and cable cars.

Los Angeles Elder Law Attorney

Senior Services in Los Angeles

Aging Disability Resource Connection (ADRC)

About the Los Angeles ADRC

For Assistance, Contact Los Angeles ADRC: 

(213) 482-7252

The Los Angeles Aging Disability Resource Connection (ADRC) No Wrong Door Service serves as a single point of entry into the long-term services and supports (LTSS) system for older adults, people with disabilities, caregivers, veterans, and families. This purpose is achieved by building community partnerships, providing services using a person-centered approach, and reducing the number of barriers for accessing services.

Check out ADRC services below

OPTIONS COUNSELING– Assist in identifying goals and needs through person-centered counseling and coordinating access to public and private-funded long-term services and supports in the community.

ENHANCED INFORMATION & REFERRAL SERVICES – Comprehensive resource information, follow-ups, and referrals via “warm hand-offs.”

SHORT-TERM SERVICE COORDINATION – Expedited access to services and supports for individuals at risk of institutionalization, generally for 90 days or less, until a longer-term plan is in place.

TRANSITION SERVICES – For people who are currently in a hospital, nursing facility, or other institution and wishes to receive long-term services and supports at home or in a community-based setting.

Los Angeles Elder Law Attorney

About Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles is a sprawling Southern California city and the center of the nation’s film and television industry. Near its iconic Hollywood sign, studios such as Paramount Pictures, Universal and Warner Brothers offer behind-the-scenes tours. On Hollywood Boulevard, TCL Chinese Theatre displays celebrities’ hand- and footprints, the Walk of Fame honors thousands of luminaries and vendors sell maps to stars’ homes.

General Information About Los Angeles

The City of Los Angeles lies in a basin in Southern California, adjacent to the Pacific Ocean, and extends through the Santa Monica Mountains and into the San Fernando Valley, covering a total of about 469 square miles (1,210 km2).[7] It is the seat of Los Angeles County, which is the most populous county in the United States.

The city’s Hollywood neighborhood has become recognized as the center of the motion picture industry and the Los Angeles area is also associated as being the center of the television industry. The city is home to major film studios as well as major record labels. Los Angeles plays host to the annual Academy Awards, the Primetime Emmy Awards, the Grammy Awards as well as many other entertainment industry awards shows. Los Angeles is the site of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, the oldest film school in the United States.[174]

 
The Dolby Theatre, venue for the Academy Awards

The performing arts play a major role in Los Angeles’s cultural identity. According to the USC Stevens Institute for Innovation, “there are more than 1,100 annual theatrical productions and 21 openings every week.”[173] The Los Angeles Music Center is “one of the three largest performing arts centers in the nation”, with more than 1.3 million visitors per year.[175] The Walt Disney Concert Hall, centerpiece of the Music Center, is home to the prestigious Los Angeles Philharmonic. Notable organizations such as Center Theatre Group, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, and the Los Angeles Opera are also resident companies of the Music Center. Talent is locally cultivated at premier institutions such as the Colburn School and the USC Thornton School of Music.

There are 841 museums and art galleries in Los Angeles County,[176] more museums per capita than any other city in the U.S.[176] Some of the notable museums are the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (the largest art museum in the Western United States[177]), the Getty Center (part of the J. Paul Getty Trust, the world’s wealthiest art institution[178]), the Petersen Automotive Museum, the Huntington Library, the Natural History Museum, the Battleship Iowa, and the Museum of Contemporary Art. A significant number of art galleries are on Gallery Row, and tens of thousands attend the monthly Downtown Art Walk there.[179]

The economy of Los Angeles is driven by international trade, entertainment (television, motion pictures, video games, music recording, and production), aerospace, technology, petroleum, fashion, apparel, and tourism.[citation needed] Other significant industries include finance, telecommunications, law, healthcare, and transportation. In the 2017 Global Financial Centres Index, Los Angeles was ranked as having the 19th most competitive financial center in the world, and sixth most competitive in the United States (after New York CitySan FranciscoChicagoBoston, and Washington, D.C.).[163]

Driving Directions from Los Angeles to Law Offices of James Dolenga

Los Angeles, California

Get on CA-110 from W 1st St
5 min (1.1 mi)

Take I-110 S to W Carson St in West Carson. Take exit 7B from I-110 S
16 min (16.1 mi)

Follow W Carson St to Hawthorne Blvd in Torrance
12 min (4.0 mi)

Law Office of James Dolenga
21250 Hawthorne Blvd STE 500, Torrance, CA 90503

Frequently Asked Questions About Medicaid, Medical, and Elder Law in Los Angeles

What is Elder Law?

Elder Law involves planning for the complex health care, long-term care, and other issues facing elderly and disabled individuals and their families. Studies show that we stand a 40 percent chance of needing long-term care at least once before we die. Therefore, everyone should take into account that at some point residency in a nursing home or an assisted living facility may be needed.

However, the substantial cost of nursing home care for an incapacitated person can wipe away a family’s nest egg and the inheritance planned for surviving family members. The primary alternative to privately paying the nursing home is Medicaid.

Medicaid Asset Protection Strategies

Although with the recent passage of the Deficit Reduction Act, increased restrictions affect the use of some techniques, other asset protection strategies remain viable, especially for married couples where one spouse requires long-term care. Some of these techniques may include setting up an Irrevocable Living Trust, making gifts to family members, and paying for certain Medicaid expenses.

Whether you are facing long-term care issues yourself or you have a family member who is, we encourage you to call with your questions or ask us for a free report. Be sure to call sooner rather than later because the timing of the decisions families need to make has a dramatic impact on whether or not someone can actually qualify for this type of support.

Elder Law involves planning for the complex health care, long-term care, and other issues facing elderly and disabled individuals and their families. Studies show that we stand a 40 percent chance of needing long-term care at least once before we die. Therefore, everyone should take into account that at some point residency in a nursing home or an assisted living facility may be needed.

However, the substantial cost of nursing home care for an incapacitated person can wipe away a family’s nest egg and the inheritance planned for surviving family members. The primary alternative to privately paying the nursing home is Medicaid.

Medi-Cal:

Medi-Cal is a joint federal and state program that provides medical assistance to low-income persons who are elderly, blind or disabled. However, unless you are among the minority who has long-term care insurance, most individuals contemplating paying thousands of dollars out-of-pocket every month for long-term nursing home care face the possibility of exhausting all available assets and using up their lifetime savings before being able to qualify for Medi-Cal. A qualified Elder Law Attorney can help your family by using a variety of strategies to help you qualify for Medi-Cal while preserving assets and savings for heirs.

Here’s How We Can Help

Paying for & Getting Nursing Home Care

  • Find the right nursing home
  • Create a plan to qualify for Medi-Cal benefits
  • Preserve as many of your loved one’s assets as possible
  • Apply for Veteran’s Benefits

Estate Administration

  • Probate of your loved one’s estate with a Will
  • Trust Administration of your loved one’s Living Trust

Incapacity Planning

  • Establish Guardianship

Click here to schedule your personal consultation or call us at (909) 726-9580.

Estate planning is essentially writing down your assets, who will be responsible for distributing or administering your assets in the event that you are unable to, due to incapacity or death, how you want or assets distributed or administered, and to whom you wish to leave your assets.

The assets involved in your estate can include more than just money. It can also include houses, cars, stocks, artwork, real estate investments, retirement plans, and gifts, just to name a few.

Your estate plan can direct these items be distributed outright, held in trust for a period of time, used for a specific purpose such as a grandchild’s education, or given to charity.

By having a well-written, customized estate plan, you can ensure that your wishes are carried out and your goals are achieved while protecting everything you worked for from family fights, creditors, and unscrupulous predators who may wish to take advantage of your family.

If you feel that you are no longer able to work because of physical and/or mental reasons, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability payments. To be considered disabled, you must be unable to perform any substantial work due to a physical and/or mental condition, which has lasted or can be expected to last for at least 12 months or can be expected to result in death.

SSDI eligibility is based on previous contributions to Social Security, and SSI eligibility is based on your income level.If you are found eligible for SSI payments, you may also qualify for State Supplemental Payments (SSP).

You may apply for SSDI or SSI at any Social Security office.If you have a child or children with a disability, you may also apply for SSI on their behalf.

What is Social Security Income (SSI)?

People who are disabled, blind, or elderly may not be able to work or afford to live on their own. If you can’t work, have no other sources of income, and have limited resources, you may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).


The federal government created the SSI program to help people in this situation. Those who qualify for SSI benefits get monthly cash payments to pay for those basic needs. The SSI program is run by the Social Security Administration. In California, people who get SSI also get a smaller benefit from the State Supplemental Program (SSP) included with their monthly SSI benefit.

 
In California, people who qualify for SSI also get Medi-Cal benefits automatically.

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