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I am still living in the house until it sells, as I am from another state...800 miles away! I have no money to pay for the bills, as I depleted my own stash taking care of her here for 1 1/2 years. I am emptying the house to sell, but until it does, how to pay these bills??? She has been in NH since mid April, and I thought she would make it back home, but now can't stand/ walk. Medicaid may consider the bills I have paid with her $$ since her placement to be "illegal" as it is, as well as this coming month also, and I must get the Medicaid this month! I can find no answers to this question. Please help! Thanks!

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JoAnn, until the mother is in receipt of Medicaid she can still own or rent whatever property she likes, and while it is her property and there are costs to maintaining it, her representative can use her money to pay for it. The OP can't pay her own expenses - ERG, maybe you could think about paying a nominal 'rent' to cover your notional share of electricity and similar bills? - but she can pay the "house" bills. Her mother will benefit from the house being sold as a going concern, anyway, rather than being allowed to fall into disrepair.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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Now Mom is in a NH, none of her money can go for upkeep on the house. Utilities will have to be paid by you. Forget about paying taxes you will not get reimbursed. When you start spending down, money is spent for Moms care. You need to talk to finance and explain that Mom has no money to pay for LTC. They may be able to help you file the application. Or go to your local Medicaid office and start the process. My Mom paid private for 2 months. I had 60days to find a home, spend her money down and get them the necessary papers needed. If that hadn't been done, I would have had to file again.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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My understanding is that the house would not be considered an exempt asset if no one is living in it, and OP appears to want to move back to their current home.
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Reply to AlfredR
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the sticky will be if the money for bills paid while she is in nursing home has been food for you, credit cards or gas for you and your vehicle. If you have no job, is she paying your bills? Big Nono for Medicaid even during spend down.
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Reply to Guestshopadmin
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If the goal is to get medicaid, why are you selling the house? The house is an exempt asset. If you sell it, then you have a big pile of money that isn't exempt and you'll need to spend that down to qualify for medicaid. Seems those two actions are at odds with one another.

As for using the money to install a hot tub or floodlights, that's one recommended way to spend down cash to qualify for medicaid. Renovate the house. Since the money put into a house makes it part of the house and thus exempt from medicaid.
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Reply to needtowashhair
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You are maintaining the house, which is your mother's property, pending its sale for your mother's benefit. It is absolutely fine to pay its utility bills with your mother's money; just don't take the mickey and install a hot tub or floodlights or anything silly like that.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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My understanding is UNTIL she actually applies for LTC NH Medicaid, she can use her $ on herself, her needs or her property. Only when that Medicaid application is done, signed, dated and submitted that’s it’s Day 1 for all Medicaid rules for income. And by submitting the application all her monthly income now to be paid to the NH as her required by Medicaid copay or SOC (share of cost) with only a smallish personal needs allowance (avg is $50 or $60) set aside from her income.

So has mom applied for Medicaid?

If house were to sell, were you expecting or needing to be reimbursed for all costs you paid? If so, imo that will be most difficult to easily do. House is mom’s, so all $ from sale is mom’s. Her $ to you will be viewed as gifting. To do anything to change this will require so sort of agreement between you all on this and you need to speak with an atty asap to see what can be done now. Medicaid tends to take the position that whatever family does or buys for their parents is done for free and out of a sense of familial duty with no compensation. To get around this there needs to be legally drawn up &/or notarized documents in advance.

Is there a reason why house hasn’t sold? And are the reasons significant enough that it makes the property to be an basically an inaccessible asset? Like it has significant foundation issues (no FHA) or in a historical zone so buyers face huge costs to reno at conventional mortgage rate so nobody will buy it except at below land value at best. Can it likely sell? Any Realtor insight as to why no interest? 

If not, Could you possibly take it off the market, close off & secure house, pull utilities and just let it sit empty till after death? Property taxes would need to be paid. Maybe yard maintenance as well depending on blight laws in her city. But other than those, house has no or limited costs. Her home by & large is considered a exempt asset for her lifetime for Medicaid. She can continue to own it & be ok for Medicaid although she will have no $ to pay taxes, etc. so you will have to pay those. It then goes into after death asset of her estate with MERP (Estate Recovery) to deal with after she dies. But this allows you to get back to your home and stop bleeding $$ from both her wallet and yours on the house and being perhaps in a house that makes you overwhelmed or depressed and overwhelmed. 
If you’ve the type to visit every 4 to 6 weeks, perhaps leave utilities on but find a way to shut down to minimum use while not there. Some cities have snowbird accounts for cable, garbage, etc. that bills only for use.

Now some states (TX does this) allow for all costs paid on the empty house to be an exclusion to the MERP tally. You’d have to file for it after her death and keep serious documentation on all items paid. But if those costs say run you 8k - 10k a year and mom lives another 3 years that’s a good bit of $$ deducted from MERP. It’s something to clearly speak with an elder law atty about.

Also ask atty if your mom’s state Medicaid program tends to or expects FMV rent paid if anyone lives in the house that is not getting the caregiver exemption. If it’s viewed that your living in the home as you’ve been there continuously for year & 1/2 and state wants you to pay rent, it makes her Medicaid way way more complicated. Really whatever path is taken you want an elder law atty to provide insight and whatever documentation needed for the future. See an atty asap.
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Reply to igloo572
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First things first - find out if the facility she's in right now will accept Medicaid. If not, you need to find one that does.

Some state laws differ but here's our experience: In our case, we sold the house, paid the final utility bills, sold the car, prepaid her funeral (make sure you ask about doing this) and cashed in her life insurance policies (she was unable to keep them due to their cash value). Once that was all done, we self-paid the nursing home (from those proceeds) and applied for Medicaid once the money was gone. For us, we were fine and Medicaid is happy as long as we had documentation of where the money went & that it was for legit stuff. She was not allowed to have more than $2000 in assets - total - in order to apply for Medicaid.

One word of caution is that Medicaid takes a long time to go through. However, your loved one gets to stay at the nursing home during that time and then nursing home gets paid retroactively from Medicaid once it's all approved and official. And, once you apply, there will very likely be a Patient Liability (co-pay) due each month so you will want to find out how much that is and when it's due. This Patient Liability is due beginning with the application process - it does not start when you're approved. It starts when you apply and continues after you're approved, so please ask about that as well so there is no confusion down the road.
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Reply to OverTheEdge17
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I'm no expert but I want to point out that the income from the sale of the house will likely make her ineligible for medicaid until it is used up. I think you need to talk to an attorney who specializes in medicaid rules in your state.
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Reply to cwillie
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