Do you have to pay back Medicaid if you own a home?

July 28, 2022
Dear Clients and Friends:
How can you have your cake and eat it too, like with this question…
If you own your home, how do you get Medicaid without having to pay it back?
We all know that you must be poor to get Medicaid. Luckily, you can get Medicaid even if you own your home. You see, the home is an exempt asset when you are asking Medicaid to pay for home care. It is not exempt if you are asking Medicaid to pay for a nursing home unless some other exemption applies.
If you need aides to come to your home and help you with the activities of daily living (walking, dressing, bathing, bathroom, etc), your home is exempt from Medicaid. In fact, the general rule is that if you live in your home, your home remains exempt. However, upon your death, Medicaid is entitled to seek reimbursement from your estate, meaning they can go after your house. What is the solution? The solution is to make sure that you do not own the house upon your death. In such cases, we may transfer the house out of your name or perhaps have it owned by a trust (revocable or irrevocable). The secret is to either not own it at death, or own it in such a way that you will avoid probate. If the house passes through probate, then Medicaid will have a chance to go after it for reimbursement.
If you are asking Medicaid to pay for a nursing home, then you may lose your house (Medicaid will put a lien on it) unless some other exemption applies. Some of the exemptions are that (1) your spouse is still living in the house; or (2) you have a minor or disabled child living in the house; or (3) you have an adult child living in the house with you for two years who provided care to you to keep you out of a nursing home; or (4) you have a sibling living in the house with you who also has an “equity” interest in the home.
The bottom line is that we will turn over every rock to try to save your house, even at the last minute. However, advance planning will assure you that you will always be able to save your home from Medicaid.  There is no substitute for advance planning. See you soon! 😊
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Until next time,
peace, health, and happiness,
Lawrence Eric Davidow