Long-term care is one of the most important components of Medi-Cal. If you or a loved one cannot perform two activities of daily living—such as eating, bathing, grooming, transferring, toileting—then you may qualify to have Medi-Cal pay for your skilled nursing facility.
In order to qualify for Medi-Cal, you must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  1. Medical eligibility
    There must be a determination by a doctor that you cannot perform 2 out of 5 activities of daily living.
  2. Resource eligibility
  • Countable assets must be transferred outside of your name.
  • However, if you are married, there will be spousal allowances given to the spouse who is not trying to qualify for Medi-Cal.

Currently these assets are not countable in California:

  • House
  • Personal effects
  • One automobile


  • Term
  • Whole Life with under $1500 cash value
  • Prepaid burial


  • Property used in trade or business
  • Special payments protected by law
  • Work related plans (IRAs, 401Ks, etc.)
  • Certain Annuities

Income eligibility

  • There are different eligibility requirements for single persons and married couples

Transfer eligibility
California has a 30-month look-back period, which means that gifts over a certain monetary amount made within 30 months may cause Medi-cal ineligibility.

As you can see, qualifying for Medi-Cal is typically not the simplest process.
In order to properly navigate these eligibility requirements, attorneys often draft a certain type of irrevocable trust called a Medi-Cal Asset Protection Trust. This Trust allows client to protect their assets by moving those assets into the Trust, yet still qualifying for Medi-Cal.

Effective January 1, 2017, Medi-Cal can now only recover after the recipient passes away if there are assets that are subject to probate. This means that if a person moves his or her assets into a Trust, and receives Medi-Cal benefits, Medi-Cal will not be able to recover the person’s assets after death, allowing you to leave a legacy for your loved one.

Due to the recent change in California, Medi-Cal planning has become a much more attractive option for so many of my clients.