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When the time comes when I can no longer care for my elderly father, can an assisted living or rehab facilities take our home? We are joint owners. The house is paid off, but I can't afford a buy out. What are my options?

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Karen - facilities aren’t in the elderly homeowner real estate business, they don’t want Aunt Pat’s old 1940s era home; what they want is to be paid for Aunties stay & whether that means property is sold, or Medicaid is filed for, or family private pays, it doesn’t matter.

Im guessing that you are realizing that eventually dad will need a higher level of care than what can be done at home and that means he moves into a facility & how you are justifiably worried as to how to pay for all this. The banking situation you described is problematic as others have said. If you & dad have one joint account and it’s into this account that his SS goes into & your income goes into, that is considered a commingling account & likely will become a issue in the future. The $ in that account can be viewed AS HIS TOTALLY if he should apply for any “at need” program like Medicaid. His income should be going into an account tied to his SS # & his SS$ only, now you can be a signature on the account so you can write checks to pay for his needs & it can be done POD (pay on death) to you. But it’s not shared. You’d have your own account at the same bank and you have them linked for online so you can monitor his account. Really try to get this done soon.

SSA have issues with commingled accounts and can require you to become his representative payee once SSA becomes aware of account being commingled. Google rep payee to see what that’s about, imo you don’t want to have to deal with that if it can be avoided.

I’d be concerned that dad has too much income..... If dad only only has $2400 a mo income and no other substantial assets, should he need to go into a NH he will not have the $ to pay for it as they run 5-12k a mo. Inevitably for that scenario they apply for LTC NH Medicaid as that will pay for his stay if he’s “at need” both medically & financially. At $2400 a mo, he’s on the cusp of income limits for Medicaid as most states has it at $2100-2200. It’s going to be super important to find out what Medicaid in your state has as exact income max. If he’s over, he’s going to need to do a Miller Trust (if his state allows this) to get his income reduced so ok for his state’s income limits.

Between the banking snafu & probable over income situation, PLUS shared property ownership, I’d suggest you & dad go & meet with an elder law attorney to have them work with you to find solutions that will be ok for future Medicaid review.

I will say this, if you right now need dads SS $ to make the household costs work, his going into a facility will be a crisis in the making. Whatever income he has will need to go towards paying the facility. If he applies for Medicaid, it will be all his income less his states smallish personal needs allowance (usually $50-$60 range). If when you put pen to paper on property costs and not affordable by you solo, what you might want to have the atty look at is dad paying you via a personal needs contract from like Dec till when he goes into a NH in 2020 or 2021. Yeah it’s taxable income to you.... but it can build up $ for you to have to pay property costs. It’s gonna be all on you to pay for everything..... liken taxes, insurance, utilities, etc ..... from day 1 of LTC NH Medicaid till beyond his death and then deal with the paperwork for establishing your exemptions to MERP (Estate Recovery). If you have the purse to pay all this with no problems, it’s different & imo you can be more hardball on dealing with MERP. But most living with parents as caregivers are giving up income to caregive & can’t afford the place all on their own for possibly years. You’ll have to pay your 50% AND his 50%. If you can’t afford this....Then what? Really find an attire to discuss all this with.p & soon so you start 2020 with a freshy fresh plan. Good luck.
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Just an FYI, miller trust is a qualified income trust. We ran into a bit of confusion with the terms.
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Edit: have you found a facility that he can afford with his SS alone? My dad made to much and I was able to find a small board and care that he could afford without having to do a qualified income trust.

Once he goes into care will you be able to afford the home without his income contributing? Because any assistance is going to require that all of his ss goes towards his care and he will not be able to help financially with the house.

Original:
If he is in care and the bills are not being paid they will probably try to evict him and in the event you refuse to take him they will contact the state and there would be a guardian provided to ensure that he is getting the care he needs. They won't just continue to provide care with no payment.

At that point it would be the state involved and they would look at his assets for his care. They won't take your home. My understanding is that a lien is placed on the property and at the point you sell or pass then the state gets the money for the lien, this is determined by how much money they paid for dads care. It is only his portion of the home that is assessed.

Can I caution you to not commingle your money with dads in an account that has his name. This can muddy the waters and usually to the detriment of the person sharing the account with a social security recipient.
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Karencd Oct 2019
It's all his money. I have my own account, but I was told by our bank that it would be easier for me to transfer his money into my own account. I was thinking of putting the money into a cashiers check and keeping it in a safety deposit account till he passes to share with my brother and sister.
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Karen, I think you need to educate yourself about Medicaid eligibility asap.

There is a difference between Nursing Home Medicaid and Community Medicaid. If your dad is over the monthly income limit, depending upon your state, dad may be able to create a pooled income trust to get below the limit.

Your money and dad's should NOT be in a joint account. Please see an eldercare attorney to straighten this all out.

Nursing home costs where I live are about 10K per month. Dad's SS is not going to pay for a NH. Does her have Long Term Care insurance?
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Karencd Oct 2019
What is a pooled income trust? I don't believe he has long term insurance. I do know, however, that he has hospital stay insurance. Is that the same thing?
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Why is dad not eligible for Medicaid?

How will he pay for AL or Nursing Home care?
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Karencd Oct 2019
He has medical insurance. He receives $2400 monthly from Social Security. I don't believe that he's eligible. I am joint owner of his bank account, so I'm hoping they can't take that money either. I figure that his AS check alone will do.
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Thank you JoAnn. My father isn't eligible for Medicaid. Do you think not having Medicaid changes anything?
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If your Dad should go into a NH on Medicaid you may need to prove that you also reside in the home. When he passes, you will get paperwork asking if someone resides in the home. Being a family member you should have no problem. A lean will be put on the house but can't be satisfied until you sell it or you pass. Being that you own half, it will be Dads half that Medicaid will be entitled to.
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Karencd Oct 2019
What about him not being on Medicaid? He isn't eligible. He receives too much from Social Security.
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No, they won’t take the home. But if Medicaid is involved, as in paying for his long term care, then his assets are subject to estate recovery so if he’s the owner of a home, they may attach lien to his share of the house. There are exceptions to that, that you may qualify for.
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Karencd Oct 2019
Thank you, worriedin Cali. Your answer is comforting.
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