Medicaid For Single Seniors

Michigan Medicaid for the Single Nursing Home Resident

Hello representative of a nursing home resident: I’m Jim Schuster, Certified Elder Law Attorney. This page is for the person who has a parent or friend in the nursing home and is worried about financial ruin because of the crushing bills. Worry no more. We have helped hundreds of families maintain their financial security and get good care in the nursing home. First some news I know you will like:

Money Back Guaranty – if Medicaid denies your Medicaid application, you get your money back.

You can have a money back guarantee.  For a small extra fee we will give you your money back if we do not get your application approved. It is that simple. You can have no risk. See our money back guaranty page. More

A family member is in a nursing home and is on private pay. Can we save?

Yes. Medicaid is the result of laws that Congress passed. It surprises some people, but the law does provide for asset protection. Like the income tax, Congress left ways for a person to save money in the Medicaid law. A Single applicant can save 70 to 90% of assets. Medicaid will pay the bill after the resident has spent down his or her money to $2,000.00. We help you save as much as we can out of the rest. You have probably heard you cannot save anything, it must all go to the nursing home. Many people are free to give advice. Let me ask you a question about these people. Are they attorneys? Have they gone through law school and sat for a bar exam? Have they taken the extra step to be tested and certified as an elder law attorney? Can you sue them for malpractice if they are wrong?

How can you save money from going to the nursing home?

Even if your loved on is in the nursing it is not too late to act. Here’s how:

First: secure a bed in your chosen nursing home. Almost every nursing home in Michigan participates in Medicaid. Some claim to have a two year wait for a Medicaid certified bed. Not true. However some nursing homes do have a limited number of Michigan Medicaid approved beds. When these open they are first offered to residents who have already applied for Medicaid. Until a resident is in a Medicaid bed, Medicaid will not pay the bill even if the application is approved. The resident will be transferred out of the nursing home to another that has an open Medicaid bed. So how does a resident apply for Medicaid and pay for until a Medicaid certified bed opens? You need a plan that complies with Medicaid rules and allows for payment of the nursing home until a Medicaid certified bed opens. You need an elder law attorney to make this work. Whatever is left will be available for savings, also known as “asset protection.”

Second: sensible spend down. Buy things that make good sense. Take care of your family member in the nursing home. Purchase personal items that will be needed and much appreciated. Medicaid only allows $60 per month for personal items, so stock up on clothes, shoes and grooming needs. Prepay the funeral and burial of the resident. Medicaid provides nothing. The resident may also purchase burial spaces for family members.

Repair or improve the resident’s property. Make sensible repairs or improvements to the home. You do not need to overspend. Look for expenditures that will improve the value or the salability of the home. Replace the worn out carpet, freshen up the walls with new paint and update the kitchen. Be sure to get estimates and keep a complete record of work done and charges. The same goes for the car. You and other family members may be paid for these services but only if your proof meets Michigan Department of Human Service standards. Contact us for a consultation to be sure you are on the right track.

Michigan Medicaid Annuity

The Michigan Medicaid annuity can be used when there is no other way to save money. Note that if the probate court has appointed a guardian or conservator, you will have to have a public hearing in probate court to see if the judge will approve purchase of the Medicaid annuity. As a rule of thumb the Michigan Medicaid annuity can save more than half the remaining money.

Esoteric Michigan Medicaid Strategies

We offer other strategies such as DRA compliant promissory notes that work in special cases and some that we can only cover in consultation because of the changing rules and application. With a combination of strategies we can save as much as 90% of the money that would otherwise go to the nursing home.

Does Medicaid Mean Poor Care?

No. With few exceptions, nursing homes in Michigan participate in Medicaid’s guaranteed payment program. It is illegal for a nursing home to segregate residents for whom Medicaid is paying the bill from other long term care residents. It is permissible to have short-term Medicare patients in their own area. If you spot a discrimination in care contact us or the Michigan Long Term Care Ombudsman immediately.


You need not spend all the residents money on nursing home bills. Congress has provided residents with the right to save in the Medicaid laws. As we have observed the rights are not self operating. You, the resident’s patient advocate, must act. You must exercise those rights, nobody else will. You must seek professional advice to access all the protections Congress granted. Your resident can have the savings he or she worked so hard for go for the benefit of family. Just give me a call at 248-356-3500.

All the best,

Jim Schuster