Becoming Eligible for Medicaid in New York When Over the Asset Limit: A Guide on Spend-Down Assets

The Chamberlain Law Firm


Navigating the complex world of Medicaid eligibility can be overwhelming, especially when you exceed the asset limit for Medicaid. If you are a New York resident seeking to qualify for Medicaid but find yourself over the asset limit, there is still hope. Through a process called spend-down, you can potentially lower your assets and meet the New York Medicaid eligibility requirements. In this article, we will guide you through the steps to spend down your assets and qualify for Medicaid in New York, while highlighting the importance of consulting with an experienced New York Medicaid attorney.

Understanding Medicaid Eligibility in New York

To meet the New York Medicaid eligibility requirements, you must meet certain income and asset requirements. These limits vary depending on your age, household size, and disability status. As of 2023, the general asset limit for Medicaid for an individual applicant is $30,180, while a couple’s limit is $40,820. It is important to note that these figures may change over time, so always verify the current limits with the New York State Department of Health.

Identifying Countable and Exempt Assets

Not all assets count towards Medicaid eligibility. Countable assets include: 

  • Checking and savings accounts 
  • Stocks 
  • Bonds 
  • CDs
  • Real estate (excluding your primary residence) 
  • Vehicles not used for primary transportation. 

Exempt assets are those that are not considered in determining eligibility, such as: 

  • Your primary residence, 
  • Personal belongings, 
  • Household furnishings, 
  • One vehicle 
  • Burial plots

Strategies for Spend-Down Assets

If your countable assets exceed the asset limit for Medicaid, you’ll need to “spend down” these assets to qualify. The key is to spend your excess assets on things that benefit you, such as:

  1. Paying off debts: Use your excess assets to pay off outstanding debts, such as credit card balances, personal loans, or mortgages.
  2. Prepaying expenses: Prepaying expenses like rent, utilities, or insurance premiums can help reduce your countable assets.
  3. Purchasing exempt assets: Convert countable assets into exempt ones by investing in your primary residence, buying a vehicle for primary transportation, or prepaying funeral expenses.
  4. Establishing a pooled trust: A pooled trust for excess assets is a special needs trust managed by a nonprofit organization, designed to help individuals with disabilities maintain eligibility for Medicaid. The trust combines assets from multiple beneficiaries for investment purposes while maintaining separate sub-accounts for each individual. It allows you to preserve excess resources without jeopardizing your access to Medicaid. A pooled income trust is also managed by a non-profit organization, and can be used to shelter your excess income. By depositing your surplus income into the trust, you can pay for living expenses without jeopardizing your Medicaid eligibility.

The Importance of Consulting with an Experienced Attorney

Navigating the spend-down process is complex and can have lasting implications on your financial future. An experienced attorney can guide you through the process, ensuring that your assets are spent in a way that maximizes your benefits and minimizes the risk of ineligibility. An attorney can also help you understand the intricacies of New York Medicaid rules and regulations, ensuring that you avoid costly mistakes.


The spend-down process allows you to meet the New York Medicaid eligibility requirements despite being over the asset limit. By carefully managing your countable assets and working with an experienced attorney, you can secure the medical care you need without jeopardizing your financial future. 

Don’t let your assets stand in the way of obtaining the healthcare you deserve—contact us today at or call (201) 273-9763 to speak to a qualified attorney to guide you through the Medicaid spend-down process.  

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice. In the event you would like to speak with a lawyer about the specifics of your case, contact The Chamberlain Law Firm at (201) 273-9763 to schedule a consultation.

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