First I’m 52, a triple amputee, blind in my left eye and live alone in rural Arizona. I have full Medicare and Medicaid benefits thankfully.

My mother was my caregiver until she had a stroke in 2011. She owns the house legally and put me in her will as sole beneficiary. She now lives in an assisted living place and I live in the home alone.

Recently I received a letter from the government that said they were putting a lien on the home, I had previously been told that this would not happen because of my disability.

Does my mother or myself have any rights regarding this issue? Is there anything I can do? I’d like to continue living here but unfortunately have nothing to offer an attorney other than a sad story..

Any helpful advice appreciated as if they take my mother's modified home from me I will no longer be able to live independently.



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Sebastian, welcome to the forum!

I take it that your mom is in Medicaid and that they are paying for AL?

I think the way it works is that Medicaid places a lien on your mom's home. The lien dies not mean that you are losing your home. It means that you can't sell the home without satisfying the lien.

Do you have a Medicaid caseworker? I would ask that person about the condition of the lien.
Helpful Answer (18)
GraceNBCC Aug 2019
You would have to get the lien removed before your mom passed, or get financing to pay off the lien in order for title to pass to you.
Crippledguy, glad tacy022 had brought up the idea of outstanding taxes which brought to my mind watch out for SCAMMERS.

If there are back taxes or not, please be careful of scammers who use tax files to find houses where the owner hadn't pay their real estate taxes or if the owners are elderly, thus the scammers will send out a lien to the property owner using a letter that resembles a local government letterhead. Thus the owner will be paying the scammers and not the local government.

Call your local government [don't use any telephone numbers on the letter as if this is a scam, you will get the scammers jerry-rigged phone number] to see if they had infact sent you a letter about a lien.
Helpful Answer (16)

First you need to calm down. A lien is not an eviction notice. It means that when the property is sold, and not by the government, but by the legal owner that the government will be paid at that time from the profits of the sale before anyone else.
Now as to what happens when ownership changes due to the death of the legal owner I cannot say. You may have to find some way of paying the debt.
Just calm down and start looking for a senior legal service in your area that can provide you with the answers.
Here in Nevada this service is called Senior Citizen's Law Project.
It may a simple but scary error on the part of a recent hire clerk.
Good luck and best wishes.
Helpful Answer (13)

I'd like to share some insight on the issue and seriousness of liens. NO LIEN should be ignored; these are serious issues and not to be treated lightly.

1.  I would take any lien very seriously. Liens can accrue interest and become substantial liabilities, decreasing the equity value in the home, reducing the eventual sale profits.      

Liens do have to be discharged before property can be sold.

2.  Depending on the type of lien, they CAN be foreclosed.  This is a good explanation on foreclosure of various types of liens:

3.  A lien for property taxes is subject to time constraints, depending on the jurisdiction. E.g., if an unpaid tax lien remains unpaid for that specific time frame, the taxing jurisdiction can acquire title and may be able to dispose of the property.  

This has been a serious issue for people who have ignored tax liens and found their once valuable property sold for the lien value plus interest.   AARP Bulletin has addressed this issue periodically.   Some folks have been appalled that a local taxing authority has acquired their house for a fraction of its market value.

4.  Lien priority is an issue in the decision to foreclose, as well as the disposition of the lien.

5.   Different states have different lien laws.    What might be required in one state might not be in another (i.e., mechanic's liens and requirement for what's known as "perfecting" the lien.

It is not my intention to criticize or repudiate anyone else's post, but I do think CrippledGuy needs to be aware that this is a serious issue and needs to be addressed quickly, by legal counsel if necessary.

CG, I'm definitely not trying to frighten you, just to alert you. 

You might want to do some research on whether there are (a) legal aid groups that assist people in need and/or (b)  pro bono attorneys who provide work to qualified clients, on a gratis basis.

Additionally, your state may have a legal agency that provides free information to elders, or perhaps to people with challenges.    I've gotten good advice from the Elder Law Agency of Michigan.
Helpful Answer (12)
cherokeegrrl54 Aug 2019
Thank you for this great information!!
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Found it!!

Call your local Area Agency on Aging on behalf of your mother. They may be able to point you to a pro bono legal service or legal clinic that can straighten this out for you.

Do you have a caseworker, or does mom have a Medicaid caseworker? S/he may be a source of clarifying information.
Helpful Answer (11)

I don’t have an answer but for what it’s worth I will say a special prayer that you are able to remain in your home. God bless you.

I am so sorry you are going through this experience.
Helpful Answer (9)

I would add that the real estate scammers seem to be multiplying.  Yesterday I found a solicitation stuck in the front door handle.   

And another alleged flipper called to inquire about my father's house, which surprised me as there's no way he could know to call me unless a neighbor told him.   Coincidentally, he sounded just like someone with a different name who called about my house a few days ago.  

I asked him for his company's name, whether or not there was an LLC involved (there was), and then told him that to even consider his stated flipping interest I would require (a) a financial report on him and on the owner of the company as well as (b) a Dun & Bradstreet report on the LLC.   Poor guy; he had no idea what I was talking about.

I traced the LLC to an iffy sounding outfit that searches for homes to convert to rentals.  Low class outfit too; one of the seminars was titled "WTF is a lease option".    I wouldn't consider dealing with anyone using that vernacular.

What I think is that some aggressive pretend realtors are contracting soliciting for homes to boiler room operations, perhaps using immigrants as the dual personality one who called me could barely speak English, and clearly had difficulty understanding it.

(I couldn't help wondering if some of them are using migrants and exploiting them.)
Helpful Answer (9)
NeedHelpWithMom Aug 2019
Garden, isn’t that sad? Truly is. It’s horrible to take advantage of the unsuspecting or the most vulnerable people.
From another section of the link I posted (FEDERAL law is your protector in this instance - States are the ones who manage the Medicaid $s and are most likely the ones placing the lien):

Federal law requires all states to incorporate the following protections for Medicaid recipients into the design of their estate recovery program:

Recipient protections in Medicaid estate recovery

The State should notify Medicaid recipients about the estate recovery program during their initial application for Medicaid eligibility and annual re-determination process.

The State must notify affected survivors about the initiation of estate recovery and give them an opportunity to claim an exemption based on hardship.

The State must establish procedures and criteria to waive recovery if it would cause undue hardship.

Key words to note in the second "State" paragraph: give them an opportunity to claim an exemption based on hardship.

You should MORE than qualify for an exemption. If denied, I would find an attorney who would fight for you and charge THEM! Any judge who sees a triple amputee who is also blind in one eye will likely SLAP them silly!
Helpful Answer (9)

You may also want to contact your Congressman or Congresswoman. They can be very helpful with issues relating to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. My Congressman helped my husband...and quickly...with a serious Social Security issue that we thought was unsolveable. And you do not have to pay them to help you!
Helpful Answer (8)
GraceNBCC Aug 2019
Great advice! A call or letter from them gets people jumping. I once had a job where I had to respond to our State Senator who wrote the Fed Agency I worked for.

In that case the guy was a weasel, and I wrote a detailed 5 page response on the facts of the issue, which my boss signed...with great relief.
Do get your paperwork together, including a print out of recent statement of Social Security Benefits and copy of Original Letter declaration that you are permenantly disabled. Also Medicare & Meficaid cards.
The office of your Congressman or Senator will often have a short turn around time for your response! They act fast!

If you go to court you should fill out a Paupers Declaration... basically show how broke you are. That way neither you nor your attorney has to pay filing fees charged by the court.. they have a lot of them!
CG, if your mother was your primary caregiver until 2011, who's been supporting you since then? Does your brother have power of attorney for you and/or your mother? When did your mother move in to the ALF? - I'm wondering if there still is a load of paperwork flying about because of her move, and this is perhaps a loose end still to be tied up.

Can anyone confirm - I thought there were exemptions from Medicaid recovery when the Medicaid recipient's child is also dependent on the Medicaid recipient through disability and has been resident in the home since (whenever)?

But anyway - given the level of your disability and the modifications that have been made to this home to allow you to live independently, I can't imagine Medicaid wanting to kick you out - you'd cost them a lot more anywhere else!
Helpful Answer (7)
cherokeegrrl54 Aug 2019
So true...
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