Will Mom's house be at risk if we relocate her?

1 answer | Last updated: May 15, 2010
A fellow caregiver asked...

My mother owns her home and received Medicare, SSI and Medicaid benefits. If I want to relocate my mother, what are the options with her home and will it affect her benefits?

Expert Answers

Steve Weisman hosts the nationally syndicated radio show A Touch of Grey, heard on more than 50 stations, including WABC in New York City and KRLA in Los Angeles. He is a practicing lawyer specializing in estate planning and is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. He's a public speaker and commentator who has appeared on many radio and television shows throughout the country, and he's the legal editor of Talkers magazine, the preeminent trade publication of talk radio. His latest book is The Truth About Avoiding Scams.

Medicare eligibility does not have any financial asset limitations. Your mother's eligibility for Medicare would be unaffected by her relocation. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a needs based program that is a part of Social Security. SSI does have both limitations on the amount of income and assets that a person may have and qualify for SSI. However, SSI does not count a personal residence as a disqualifying asset. If your mother were to sell her home and take the proceeds to purchase a new home, she would still qualify for SSI.

Medicaid also has asset limitations that pertain to eligibility. Again, however, a home is not a countable asset so she could sell her home and purchase substitute housing without jeopardizing her eligibility for Medicaid.

This can be complex so I strongly suggest that you consult an Elder Law Lawyer to make sure you do not jeopardize her eligibility for public benefits.