Does my uncle have to tell the nursing home about his savings bonds?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

My aunt is in the nursing home for rehab but can not do the rehab because she is in pain. Medicare will not pay the stay because she can not do the therapy. She needs a lift to get out of bed and can not walk. She can not go home like this. My uncle purchased many bonds in the 60's and did not antisipate that my aunt would be unable to return home. Will he have to tell them about the bonds or can he continue to save them. I am not sure if the bonds are in his name or both. My husband and I are thier POA and my uncle has cancer that is in remission. We are concerned that if he doesn't tell them about the bonds that someday when we settle thier estate that we will owe the nursing home or worse the government money back. How does this all work?

Expert Answers

Barbara Steinberg is the CEO and founder of BLS Eldercare Financial Solutions, which specializes in helping families pay for long-term care for their loved ones. A registered financial gerontologist, she speaks regularly on the topic of paying for long-term care and is a financial expert for

It sounds like your aunt will be applying for Medicaid. Medicaid is a program for people who are in need of long term care and do not have the resources to pay for it. Medicaid needs to know about all assets that belong to both spouses. Not disclosing assets is fraud. Yes, the state can recover back payments from the estate if they can prove there was fraud. Or if they find out while your aunt is still living, she can be denied Medicaid.

There are safeguards for the spouse who is remaining in the community. When Medicaid reviews their assets, they will divide the total in half. For most assets, it makes no difference who is the owner (there are some variations by state). The community spouse can keep the maximum amount that the state allows (up to $113,640 for 2012). There is also a minimum set by the state (at least $22,728 for 2012). The joint assets need to be spent down to the specified level before Medicaid eligibility is awarded.