Can Medicaid make me leave the home my mother owns and I live in as her caregiver?

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My mother and I live in Alabama. I've lived with her in the house she owns (My name is not on the deed.) and been her caregiver for 6 years, and the house is willed to me upon her death. However, she is thinking of entering a nursing home because her condition is beyond what I am able to take care of alone and hired aides so far are not up to the task. If she does go into a nursing home, she has a little money that would be gone through first, then Medicaid could take the home. Can I live here until I die or otherwise move, or will I have to vacate immediately? I am disabled and receive a small Social Security check. Without this house, I would be homeless. I know spouses can stay in the home until they die or otherwise leave it. Can I do the same considering how long I've lived here? Thank you for any help you can offer.

Answers 1 to 10 of 32
Top Answer
Medicaid does not take houses from people. A Medicaid recipient is allowed to own a home, but after the recipient dies the state may recover their costs from the sale of the home.

As I understand it, there is an exception that you'd be interested in. If a child or grandchild has lived in the house and provided caregiving services such that the entry into a nursing home was delayed, then the recipient can give the house to that child or grandchild, either immediately or through a will.

An obstacle for many people is that all of Mother's money will go toward the cost of her care. She will not be able to pay taxes or insurance or otherwise maintain the house once she is in the NH. Will you be able to do that?

She can "spend down" the little money she has before going into a nursing home. Perhaps she could pre-pay the house insuranve for a few years. Or have a new roof put on if the house is about to need it.

I'm sure you are trying to conserve money, but I think it would be a good use of some of Mother's funds to consult with an attorney who specializes in elder law. You'd get the straight scoop on you remaining in the home and good advice about what to spend money on before applying for Medicaid.

Good luck to you!
As the first response says, Medicaid does not take people's houses. What they do is place liens against houses. That being the case, it would seem that you would be able to stay in the house until such time as it was sold, but when it is sold, the state would be at the closing, first in line, to recover their share of the money, whether it's part of the sale price or all of it. The advice of a lawyer who specializes in elder law is very important in situations such as this.
Good answers -it would be a good idea when she enters the nursing home for you to start looking for somewhere else to live because sooner or later you will have to move-ask the elder lawyer you see about this-I would think the lawyer can be paid with her money-it is better to know what is comming up in the future for you so you have a chance to prepare.
If your mother has Medicaid and is at a nursing home level care, then she is eligible for home care funded by Medicaid and does not have to go to a nursing home. According to your states own website "Medicaid covers home care services for Medicaid-eligible persons of any age who meet the admission criteria, based on a reasonable expectation that a patient’s medical, nursing, and social needs can be met in the home.

Home care recipients must be unable to leave home under normal circumstances, be unable to function without the aid of supportive devices, require special transportation assistance and have an illness, injury or disability that prevents the recipient from going to a doctor’s office, clinic or other outpatient setting for required treatment"
Contact an Elder Care Attorney and put the house in a Trust for your benefit.
Don't be afraid to contact Medicare/Medicaid directly, they can be very helpful with information.
YES.....medicaid will take your mom's house!!!! IT'S called "Estate Recovery Act"!!! Unless the owner of the home DEEDS it to you or someone else in the family, BEFORE their passing, the government WILL take it to pay expences they paid to you while you were getting MEDICAID. PLEASE LOOK IT UP! We to have a home that is our moms, and have to get it deeded over so it isn't confiscated by the government! As thy say "You don't get something for nothing" especially when it comes to "Our Government"! I was doing my own research on the same question when I came across this information and I was shocked that they "could or would" do such a thing considering the circummstances, I still am! Get it deeded into your name as soon as possible?! Good Luck and Hugs............ God Bless......
I agree with Paula. Your mom needs to put the house in trust or transfer the deed to you.
You have to be careful how you handle this, because Medicaid rules can vary from state to state. Most applicable to your situation is the federal exception that the primary residence (if valued less than $500K) is protected from recovery if a relative caregiver has been living there at least two years, and being there kept the person from having to go into a nursing home. States handle properties in different ways and it is important to know how each state does it. The house may be put in a life estate, with the state holding a lien. If the house is sold or the caregiver moves out, the state can recover money owed. However, the state can evaluate the value of the caregiving service provided and let the caregiver keep that portion of the money.If the caregiving service is worth more than the house, then the state does not seek to recover any money.

Other states may not choose to do any recovery from a house that is occupied by a caregiver who the house is willed to. Check with an attorney and see how your state handles it. Alabama will not be interested in making you homeless, so I'm sure there will be exceptions in place.

I would be careful about having your mother deed the house to you without first consulting an attorney. This could be considered a gift that would disqualify her for Medicaid coverage, so you have to make sure it is acceptable to do this in Alabama before changing the deed.
In the end, the simple advice is to get a lawyer. As mentioned, an estate or elder care law attorney. I noticed a comment about 'spending down' which you have to been very careful about. It is traceable when a person does that and that just goes on the tab too. Every state is different and every person's financial situation is different. These are huge decisions that can't be made based on what someone else has experienced because there are just too many nuances to list here.

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