My mother is currently in a nursing home & on Medicaid. I have been paying all her home expenses, taxes, utilities, & up keep.

Started by

Is there any chance I will be able to recoup any of the money I have spent? Should I keep paying these bills?


I believe that short answer is yes.

I hope someone wit more specific knowledge will drop by soon. To help with that answer, are you living in the house? Were you living with/caregiving for your mother before she went to the NH?
No I am not living in the house. It has been vacant for 2 years. I was not my mothers caregiver before she went to nursing home.
Since Mother is on Medicaid, the state has a claim on the house when she dies. I believe that you could/would be paid back your expenses before they take their share.

It seems to me that you are keeping the house up for the benefit of the state. Perhaps it would be more efficient and easier on you to sell the house now. The money would be used for your mother's care. I'm not at all sure how that works ... whether it would be "pay back" for the care she's already gotten or if Medicaid would be suspended until those funds were gone, or what. Maybe someone else will have experience to share.

If it were me, I would consult a lawyer specializing in Elder Law. Find out what, exactly, your state's practice is regarding the sale of a home of a Medicaid recipient, either before or after the owner dies. Is there any benefit to you continuing to maintain the empty house?
Jeanne - yes you're right this in the long run does benefit the state. In my mom's neighborhood there are about 6 houses that have totally gone blighted as the owners are in NH and there is no $ from family to maintain.

Shaidet - Go onto your state's Medicaid site to see how they handle the MERP program. MERP - Medicaid Estate Recovery Program - is what you will be dealing with on the house after your mom dies.

I am in a similar situation, my mom is in a NH now for a couple of years and still has her empty house with it's homestead exemption.I & another family member pay for all expenses related to the home (insurance, taxes, utilities, repairs, etc). In her state - Texas - under Texas Administrative Code Chapter 373 & Rule 373.213
all reasonable expenses made to maintain the empty home are deducted from the MERP claim against the deceased estate. We have 60 days to file this after death. We are riding this out out till probate and the rules seem to be written based on MERP's claim or lien being done through probate. In TX, MERP is a class 7 claim so it's low on the list to be paid but still happens. In other state's, it's a lien with equal standing to all other creditors, so MERP happens more. In MS, MERP is an equal claim but the first 75K of the home's value is exempt if an active homestead exemption has been maintained. Yep, confusing but my point is each state's law on death, estate & probate is just so important in how it is done.

I don't know exactly how the expenses are handled when the house is sold before death but you should be able to deduct your expenses from the proceeds of the sale of the house.I'd contact your state's MERP program to see how they handle this now and in advance of the actual sale. Personally, I'd do a list of all you've spent with documentation and have it all notarized at the ready to produce at the act of sale.

Also I'd ask a couple of Realtors to see what their experience has been with these type of sales. I know that some Realtors just flat will not take a listing that has a Medicaid encumbrance on it because there tends to be paperwork issues which increase the timeline and queers the deal. In TX, there is an actual document that MERP must issue in order for the property to be released from the Medicaid encumbrance & without it, no sale and there will be no clear title. Most of the time when you as the seller do a real estate listing you have to indicate if there is any encumbrance on the property - like the owners are divorcing and 1 of them is signing over ownership to the other but divorce not final at the time they put it on the market. Being on Medicaid means there is an encumbrance on the property that needs to be disclosed just like disclosing that there are foundation issues or that the appliances are not included.

MERP rules were done back in 2000 - 2005 when real estate was totally all a go-go & no thought out as to there ever being a possible real estate cratering.

Let us know what you find out from your talk with someone in the MERP office.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

Please enter your Comment

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support