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.

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Good point on the inherted house vs. changing the deed. I never though about those particular tax implications.
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LivingSouth, I would also ask the same question that Babalou had asked... I am surprised an Attorney would recommend deeding the house to you, there is no way of knowing when one's parents might need Medicaid. If your parents need Medicaid and it has been less then 5 years since the house was deeded to you, then Medicaid could deduct the net worth equity of that house from any Medicaid funds... thus your parents would have major out of pocket expenses.

For you, down the road when it comes time to sell the house which was change to your name, when it comes to paying capital gains the basis will be the date that your parents had bought the house. Thus if the house is worth $500k today and your parents paid $50k many decades ago, there will be a capital gains of $200,000 after the $250k allowed deduction when you sell. Now if you inherit the house, the net worth of the house will be the day you receive said house $500,000 and the basis would also be $500,000.

As for the house remaining in the family if you are a caregiver for two years, you would needed to be at a high level care type of caregiving [24 hour care]... thus your parents would be in a physical and/or memory condition that would have warranted being in a nursing home.
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LS, was this attorney familiar with Medicaid law?
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I just consulted with an attorney about this since I am in the same situation. She is going to transfer the house to my name, so that parents can get Medicaid in the future. If you are disabled and living there, or a caregiver, they cannot take the house. Attorney also said that the house could be sold at a later date if a smaller property, or apartment, was desired.
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Thank you all so much for the wonderful support and information. I'm less scared about being put out of my home, and I have a plan of action - starting with seeing an elder law attorney.
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I looked up a bit of Medicaid law and you can keep a home and a car. The Lady Bird deed also known as an Enhanced Life Estate Deed would be your best bet. There are a lot of income and asset limits so you might want to go on Alabama.gov and look up Qualifing for Medicaid. This is usually a very hard process and lawyers know ways around the law so your best bet is to find an Elder Law Attorney in your area. To find one go to naela.org (National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys) to see who is certified in Elder Law. Don't do anything without the advise of an attorney or you could lose eligibility for months or years.
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Is she aware enough to set up a Trust or otherwise Deed it over to you, although that could cause it to be in the 5 year look back period. Not sure, each state is different. Would that cause you problems with other family members after she is gone?
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Find out if you have been living in the house I believe more than 2 years and are taking care of her, they might not take the house. It is possible that if the house gets sold down the road, they might want some money from the sale to pay for her care. Find an Elder Care Attorney and ask, don't wait too long. If you gave up your residence to care for her it is possible, depending upon the state, that you might not have to leave. Also check and see if your State, like New York, allows you to refuse to pay for her care. I can't remember what it's called.
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I live in Tennessee, we had a lawyer draw up papers deeding the house to me. It was almost like dad sold me the house over a two year period but no money changed hands it was wrote up that way. It had to be done five years before he needed a nursing home or died since my mom was already in the nursing home. We succeeded and it had been five years six months when he needed a nursing home so that keeps Medicaid from getting the house. I can't sell the house as long as mom and dad are alive though.
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Frustrated2's answer is the only answer so that it is done according to your state's law. In Pa there is the "Estate Recovery Act" also, and that is exactly what i'm just beginning to enter into. Of course, when it came time to take the checkbook, - my Moms, that is exactly when i hired an Elder Law attorney. 302'd; declared incompetent by orphans court, etc. Powers granted. Dementia. An attorney. Then your safe! good luck to you
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