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Can Medicaid take a house to pay for nursing home care?

7 answers | Last updated: Feb 05, 2015
Delite asked...

My mother is in a nursing home but still owns a condo that I live in. When she dies, can Medicaid take her home since they have been paying so much on her behalf for the last 4-6 years?


Caring.com User - Joseph L.  Matthews
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Joseph L. Matthews is a Caring.com Expert, an attorney, and the author of Long-Term Care: How to Plan & Pay for It and...
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Joseph L. Matthews answered...

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Can Medicare take your home to pay for nursing home care?

See all 426 questions about Paying for Care
Medicaid has a right to be reimbursed for all it has spent to care for your mother in the nursing home, and that reimbursement can come from the value of her home -- the condominium -- when your mother dies. So, Medicaid will not "take" the condominium, but they can and probably will seek repayment of the money they have spent caring for your mother in the nursing home. They usually begin this process by placing a lien on the property. If you (and any other heirs to your mother's property) sell the condo after your mother is gone, the lien requires that the money owed to Medicaid be paid off first. If you do not want to sell the condo after your mother dies, you may have to take out a new mortgage on the property in order to pay off your mother's debt to Medicaid for their nursing home payments on her behalf.

To find out the specific Medicaid reimbursement and property lien rules and procedures for the state where you live, use any Internet search engine and enter the words Medicaid and the name of the state, which will take you to the official web site of your state's Medicaid program, or go to the Benefits.gov web site and click on the name of your state. You can also call the Eldercare Locator toll-free at 800-677-1116 and ask for the number of the Medicaid program in your state.


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/people/107971 answered...

Some states have an exemption of small dollar estates of real property. It may be important to have a licensed assessor evaluate the property. Also, under certain conditions, close relatives may continue to live in a residence if they are in extreme need.


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/people/124103 answered...

what if she were to sell the property to you that way it will be in your name when she passes on and I am thinking then they cannot touch it.


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/people/124103 answered...

not if she sells it to you for a small amount like 10.00 or something then you could keep the property and she would not have the money to pay them back? You can sell a house for whatever you want can't you?


NewEnglander answered...

I'm afraid unless the condo is worth an awful lot of money that it is too late to keep it in the family as it were. You say she's been in care for 5-6 yrs. Medicaid varies by state but 5 yrs is a pretty standard "look back" period. That refers to how far back Medicare will look into Mom's financials when she passes and they are looking for reimbursement. Unless you are very ill, or Mom signed the condo over to you legally, meaning it is in your name, more than 5 yrs prior to when she first signed up for Medicaid, they will come back to her estate for all they spent until her assets are all gone. If you've been living there without paying rent for 5 or 6 yrs, I'd consider that my inheritance. If it's a really pricey condo and the cost of care comes to less than the value of the condo, then you'll get to sell it and keep what's left into her estate... or as the first gentleman said, take out a mortgage to own it. There's so much to this. I suggest anyone even considering being a caretaker or taking on putting a parent into care see an elder care attorney as soon as possible.


rk_smith answered...

My opinion is that no matter how hard you try to seek help with the care of a loved one, Your screwed. You will eventually die from the stress and care that you have provided over the years and your loved on will still need the care. What do you have left? Nothing! if you have over the limited amount of funds in your bank account then kiss it goodby because they want to see you living on the streets. Those of autority over this matter couldn't care less. Your State doesn't care. No one cares except you. I myself look forward to the day I die just so I will have no more stress and just won't care anymore because I will finally be out of the picture. As long as I am alive, they will be on me like a blood sucker until I do die. I have tried very hard to try and get help for my loved one ever since he had his massive stroke in 2003. I have injured myself caring for him. I can't use my hands very well anymore and I have injured my knee and my back. What for? LOVE! I myself can't take this garbage anymore because it is 24/7 work,stress and depression.