Medicaid Qualifications for Non-Citizens Who are Permanent Residents of the U.S.

  • Clifford M. Cohen,
  •   Medicaid
  •   Comments Off on Medicaid Qualifications for Non-Citizens Who are Permanent Residents of the U.S.

OIder immigrants may be all too familiar with dealing with the complexities of U.S. government and law. This maze, however, can be continuously difficult to navigate and increasingly frustrating, especially when trying to access important benefits for long-term care. Are you a non-citizen, permanent resident of the U.S.? If so, it can be a good idea for you to understand the rights that come with being a Green Card holder, particularly if you are looking to engage in long-term care planning.

Almost 7 million U.S. residents age 65 and older are immigrants. This likely means that a significant portion of the U.S. population are senior immigrants that will, at one point, likely need nursing home care and government benefits to help cover the associated costs. Unfortunately, the process of managing the complex web of immigration laws and government benefit program eligibility can be extremely difficult. There are, however, some basic rules of thumb that U.S. permanent residents should be aware of when looking to qualify for Medicaid benefits.

First and foremost, older immigrants who wish to qualify for Medicaid must either be U.S. citizens or have an eligible immigration status. This is in addition to the fact that they must also comply with other program requirements. Generally speaking, a person must be “lawfully present” in the U.S. to be eligible for Medicaid and other federal benefit programs. Those who are permanent residents, or Green Card holders, would, therefore, fulfill this requirement.

Permanent residents who meet state income and residency requirements will likely be eligible for Medicaid. It should be noted, however, that many non-citizens, like those with permanent resident status, are subjected to a 5-year waiting period before they can receive Medicaid coverage. This means that an otherwise qualified permanent resident must wait 5 years after receiving “qualified” immigration status before they can actually be eligible to receive Medicaid coverage.

If you are a permanent resident seeking Medicaid coverage to help pay for nursing home costs, the Law Offices of Clifford M. Cohen is here to help. Please reach out to us today to schedule an appointment by calling (202) 895-2799 or emailing us at