Will the Government or State Take My House If I Enter A Nursing Home on Medicaid?

The government typically won’t seize a home simply because an individual is receiving Medicaid benefits in a nursing home. In Florida, your homestead is not considered a countable asset for Medicaid as long as its value is below $713,000 (as of January 2024). And if you’re married, there’s no cap on your homestead’s value at all.

What Are Medicaid Estate Recovery Programs (MERPs)?

MERPs, mandatory in all states since 1993, seek reimbursement for Medicaid-funded long-term care posthumously. This often involves the recipient’s home, but there are key exceptions. For example, if there’s a surviving spouse, a minor, or a disabled child, Medicaid generally can’t pursue recovery. Further, if you leave your homestead to a lawful heir, Medicaid will not make the homestead be sold to pay them back. It’s also worth noting that MERPs vary by state, affecting how and when the state can claim reimbursement.

Can I Protect My House By Leaving It to My Heirs?

If you leave your homestead to a lawful heir – like your spouse, children, or grandchildren – Medicaid won’t require the home to be sold to repay benefits after you pass away. This rule offers significant relief to many families. However, if you leave your home to someone who isn’t a lawful heir, like a helpful neighbor, then the government might require the sale of the home for repayment purposes.

The Nuances of Florida Law

Florida law offers some unique protections. Even if you stay in a nursing home for an extended period, your family can retain the home without it becoming a countable asset for Medicaid. But remember, when you pass away, the state of Florida can claim your estate for what it paid for your Medicaid assistance. However, your homestead property is typically protected from such claims, with a few exceptions.

It’s here that nuances matter. Problems can arise in situations like renting out the homestead property, owning a cooperative share, or if your last will mandates the sale of the homestead upon your death. Each of these scenarios requires careful legal planning to avoid unintended consequences.

Can Medicaid Take My Home? Different Scenarios Explained

  • Single and Living Alone. Your home remains exempt under Medicaid if your equity interest is below your state’s limit.
  • Single and Moving to a Nursing Home. An “Intent to Return” statement can protect your home, but limitations exist based home equity interest.
  • Single with Grown Children at Home. The home’s status depends upon your equity interest. Special exemptions like the Child Caretaker Exemption may apply.
  • Married Couples. When one spouse is in a nursing home, the community spouse can usually retain the home without affecting Medicaid eligibility. Post-death, Estate Recovery may apply differently based on state-specific rules.

Protect Your Home – Schedule A Consultation With An Experienced Winter Park Medicaid Planning Attorney.

The intersection of Medicaid and homeownership is complex, and solutions are highly individualized. That’s why at Flammia Elder Law Firm, we strongly advocate for personalized legal advice.

If you’re worried about how Medicaid might affect your homestead, we’re here to help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with an experienced Medicaid planning attorney.

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