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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.


Sincerely,


Sebastian

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Hey "Worried in Cali" - it is not "crippledguy's" home, it is his mothers house and he just happens to be living there.  His mother, the home owner, is in a facility and has debt and they want to take the home to cover the debt.  He needs to worry and he needs some assistance to see if there is some disability exemption to their situation.

And yes, there are still questions about what debt his mother actually has....back taxes, Medicare/Medicaid???  No one knows and crippledguy hasn't clarified.
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I’m one of few people on the post who seems to realize it’s his mother’s house and it’s mortgage free, just saying. No one wants to take the home, that’s not what is happening here. They want to collect on a debt, it’s most likely Medicaid and Medicaid doesn’t take people’s houses.
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I noticed the original poster, Crippledguy, hasn't been back to answer any of our questions. He wrote his question on August 23rd.
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I noticed the same thing.   There are still unanswered questions that need to be addressed before he can make a decision on how to proceed, but if answers aren't provided, we're all still just assuming facts maybe or maybe not in evidence, and accurate or not, depending on issues that haven't been clarified.
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Have you tried Legal Aid? They offer a sliding scale fee based on income.
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Not sure if this is a tax lien or Medicare/Medicaid debt...???

Since your mother is still alive, the house is not yours, it is hers and if she is in need of care and has no money to pay for her care, they will come after her home because that is her only asset.  You should be worried. 

If she had put the house in your name five years ago or at the very least added your name to the title, you would stand a better chance of keeping the house... 

I read the post previous posts and there may be some hardship exemptions...bottom line is you need help navigating all of this.  Call upon every disabled organization you can to help!
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NO ONE is going to come after the home while the home owner is LIVING! My gosh can people stop with the fear mongering?
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Call your congressmen and senators. Advice from a lawyer. Fight for your right to live where you desire. A house and automobile they can't count as fair game. Make some noise. Keep 7s posted we are in yoyr corner.
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Hey Sebastian,
I also love in Az. Please see if your county council on aging. Tell them about your circumstances. I understand your in Rural AZ. That can be a big obstacle- I hope you can get this resolved.
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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!
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@Igloo Can someone confirm that Igloo is a Medicaid specialist? I think that that person, Igloo is and maybe Igloo has some insight for Sebastian. Thank you in advance, Igloo, if you see this or perhaps I've missed that you posted? Sebastian, yes, please get PRO BONO legal aid!
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While my understanding of how this works means you need not worry about being thrown out, it should not be ignored. More than likely the lien was "automagically" processed by the state or some government agency following your mother's acceptance into Medicaid.

Typically if someone owns property, Medicaid will place a lien on that property to recoup the funds expended for the person's care - this is usually done at the time of sale after the principal passes away. In your case, being disabled, they won't be able to toss you out (there are rules for others who reside there but are not disabled.) What they do after you move out or are gone, I have no idea. There is a statement within the document pointed to below that goes over Nevada law. When you open this link, search for the section quoted (there is a LOT of info, but this is the section that most applies to you.)

Certainly you don't want to ignore the lien, but there should be a way to let them know that you are living there, are intended to inherit it AND are disabled. Whoever it is that handles the filing of the liens more than likely has no idea you live there or that you are disabled. If at all possible, see if you can find pro bono legal advice, or at least an attorney that can give you a break.

From:
 https://aspe.hhs.gov/basic-report/medicaid-liens

under:
"LIENS AND RECOVERIES ON HOMES CONVEYED TO SURVIVORS OF DECEASED MEDICAID RECIPIENTS"

States are prohibited from making estate recoveries:

During the lifetime of the surviving spouse (no matter where he or she lives).
From a surviving child who is under age 21, or is blind or disabled (according to the SSI/Medicaid definition of “disability”), no matter where he or she lives. (Recovery may take place when the child no longer meets these criteria.)
When a sibling, with an equity interest in the home, lived in the home for at least 1 year immediately before the deceased Medicaid recipient was institutionalized and has lawfully resided in the home continuously since the date of the recipient's admission.
When an adult child lived in the home for at least 2 years immediately before the deceased Medicaid recipient was institutionalized, has lived there continuously since that time, and can establish to the satisfaction of the State that he or she provided care that may have delayed the recipient’s admission to the nursing home or other medical institution.

In these instances, the designated survivor(s) can inherit the home and other assets to use as they wish. Some states waive recovery altogether, while others reserve the right to recover at a later time -- e.g., when a child attains age 21 or when the sibling or adult child moves out of the home.
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Good work on finding that recovery site.
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Worriedincali......There is nothing WRONG with my post. She can sell it anytime she wants. We don't have enough info, but it's NOT WRONG!!!
Sounds like they have a very close relationship. There also is something called a "CAREGIVER TRUST". he doesnt need to flip out, just get to legal aide. Geez. Come on. Were supposed to be helpful not negative.
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I never said she couldn’t sell the house and you never advised the OP to have her so that until now. i will say it again-this is what I said—I said mom cannot sign her house over if she is on Medicaid. That is the wrong information I corrected. And mom signing the house over now won’t get rid of the lein.
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It sounds like you may have a tax lien on your home? If you can pay the tax, you can keep the house. Also, if your mom still owns the house and you are the beneficiary, that means it is your house when your mom passes. So she is responsible for the taxes on the house. I think you can still get disability because you are not the owner of the house. And you paid into disability when you worked, supposing you did work in the past. So you can ask a lawyer. He/She may answer your questions for free.
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Was your Dad or you a Veteran ? If so, please contact http://www.tunnel2towers.org
they pay off mortgages for disabled vets
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Good save!   You reminded me that the VA also provides mortgage assistance for Vets.  It might be able to help at some time in the future, or if Sebastian's father or mother were Vets.

And...I've been contacting organizations that assist Vets,  First Responders, Medical and Educators,  in finding homes.    So this is a charity that interests me; I intend to contact them.

Thanks for your diligence in locating this agency.
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Sebastian,

If you're still here, could you please provide the clarifications asked, specifically by BarbBrooklyn and others, as to exactly:

1.    Who is the lien directed to, i.e., you or your mother (a/k/a lienee?   And, what if any action is specified to be taken by the  lienee?

2.    Is the lienor (entity filing the lien) Medicaid?  Or some other entity?

3.    What, if any, action is advised to be done by your mother or you?   And are there any deadlines specified?

If you've decided on another course of action than relying on advice here, by all means follow the suggestions given to get pro bono legal help so you can develop a plan of action, if needed. 

It's not my intent to criticize anyone for attempting to provide information, but it's clear that some in their desire to be helpful are providing erroneous information, such as ignoring the lien.   That's a potential financial disaster.

As I've emphasized, liens CAN be subject to interest which may accrue until sale.  Depending on the size of the lien and the current money rate, they could actually double over time.     This obviously DECREASES the equity available at the time of sale.
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I believe if Medicaid is paying for your mothers assisted living, than they can sell the house after you pass for repayment. If you have paperwork saying you are the sole beneficiary, that is.
If it is not in writing that you are the sole beneficiary, I would get that ASAP. You may not need an attorney. Sites like Legal Zoom have some paperwork but I would definitely try to find an attorney that donates time who is an elder law atty. The Bar Association in the area you live in can help find an attorney in Elder Law that does volunteer work. Also, a University that has a law school might be able to assist.

The first thing I would do is find the number of the office of the Govt. that contacted you. Don't just call the number in the letter bc it could be a scam. Look up that number online or in phone book and call and find out why they put a lein on her house. Some cities have tax relief programs for those below a certain income level.
Than try to find an atty that volunteers or works on a sliding scale to secure the home for you. Whether that be a will, or a trust. Each state is different.
Don't get too worried. This is a good reason for you to make sure everything is going to work out the way your mother wanted it.
I hope that helps somewhat.
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I'm tempted to say that you should defend your territory like a wild animal but I think the above poster is right.
Medicaid is running a sly operation and this year, I got up to my tricks to avoid having health.gov force me to use them.
The "Estate Recovery Program" is described right in the middle of their application and proves that Medicaid is not an insurance, it is a lending company similar to a credit card.
They never send you your bill and never let you know how much you owe then and it is very underhanded.

A "Medicaid Trust" is something I have only heard a brief description of but you need an attorney who can discuss it with you in detail.

Also, I recently visited a lawyer (not pertaining to healthcare) who looked at me like a spotlighted deer and adamantly refused to do her part and I immediately arranged for a more capable lawyer to help me with my case, so please be careful who you let work with you.
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Liens are claims of debt owed against the property. It really only becomes relevant when it comes time to sell the property. However, if left unchecked - the lien amount may increase over time. Banks, or Lenders are also Lienholders. They are the ones that can 'foreclose' on the property.

Liens are staking a claim to debt owed - more often when the owner of the property wants to sell , that is when the lien is actually is discovered and paid. To sell a property, it must have clear title before transfer.

SO, when it comes time, whether DEATH/PROBATE, or the sale of the property - A preliminary title report is ordered , and that's where the lien will show up. All liens must be paid before BEFORE THE SALE is complete so BUYER has CLEAR title.

Make sure the taxes are paid!

We had a lien on a property for years . .several in fact. Didn't know anything about them until title search came up. We had to pay off the liens before completing the sale of the property. The Liens were for UNPAID Weed Abatement bills that mom didn't pay for some reason back in the 70's. Luckily those liens didn't amount to much (in relation to the value of the property) - under $2000.

Now , What is the lien for? You said its from the government? What government?
Get all the details and then start the fight if you need to. Lots of other great advice from others here to pull it all together.
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cak2135 Aug 2019
This happened 10 years ago, my mother took out a reverse mortgage against the house she and I lived in. It needed some work, but I think in some ways my mother opened a can of worms. I had to put the place on the market along with my sister; we both got picked up by the same apartment complex two days of one another; my place was just around the corner from hers, and her children always came over when they wanted me to fix their gadgets, go biking, or go swimming. Everything did work out for the best
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When your mother passes the lien has to be paid. usually have to transfer assets 3 to five years prior to her going into assisted living. Perhaps the state of Arizona can do something for you because you are disabled and I would contact social services and to Google the state of Arizona’s Medicaid program when your mother passes perhaps the state of Arizona can do something for you because you are disabled and I would contact social services and to Google the state of Arizona‘s Medicaid program. Probably should have put you on the house many years ago
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I would say in my opinion, is your mother able fully to understand? Then I would have her put you as the owner right now. It is yours before they can do anything, it's simple paperwork. Btw you need to get another poa/caregiver etc. for yourself also asap. Do you have any friends or family that you trust to do that? Jmo
Good luck.
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Wrong. And if his mom is also on Medicaid, she can’t give her house away.
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Go to DHHS website by putting in keywords in Google. From what I read, if you have lived with and cared for your mother for 2 years prior to her being admitted to the facility, they won’t take the home. Some Medicaid rules vary from state to state. Be sure to put your state in your search online. Also, go see an elder law attorney who specializes in Medicaid. It is worth the $250.00 or $300.00 for an hour of questions and answers. I know because that is what I did.
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Riley2166 Aug 2019
Some attorneys give a free hour for giving you information and after that they will charge you. Make some calls to find one who will help. Also, contact the local Office on Aging. You can also contact your state senators and representatives for help.
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Like it or not, you need an atty that understands the laws in your state. Look to see if you have some kind of legal aid in your area - services are free or based on income.

Are the putting the lien against house for the care she has been receiving or for some other obligation?
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Here’s my opinion,
The State and federal government has too much to say when someone has a disability.
Im so caught in the middle of legal debate on what makes me disabled.
if I want to move or need to go to a nursing home they use my money first and then put me on Medicaid and I’m not a fan of that.
aA person has the right to stay in their own house unless there is a reason for a lien such as taxes not paid.
can you seek legal assistance? And maybe you could put the money towards assisted living
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I hope not because I’m in the same place you are. If it’s in the will they cannot go against a legal and binding document.
a will is solid unless someone changes or put an addendum to it.
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elaineSC Aug 2019
That will means nothing when dealing with Medicaid. Go ask an elder law attorney because I have run the whole gamut for my Mom. DHHS wants any money they can recover for paying nursing homes including the house unless the house was deeded to you in a Life Estate 5 years before the parent is admitted. Varies from state to state.
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I agree with the majority of the respondents that a lien is something to he taken seriously. And on a separate note, I am concerned about you and your ability to care for yourself in the long term as well. Perhaps you can start putting together a contingency plan if you were to become unable to live alone in the future.
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AmirsMom, thank you for joining the group of people here offering accurate advice, as well as serious consideration of the lien and Sebastian's own health concerns now and in the future.     

I'm appalled to read in posts that it doesn't need to be taken seriously.   It DOES!
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If it's owned by your Mom and you are beneficiary - the lien would have to be because of what she owes somewhere. Until she dies you have no claim to the property. (if she has reverse mortgage and has been out of the home over 30 days - the reverse mortagage holder can come after the property - watch out for this stipulation if you are thinking about a reverse mortgage) If she passes - you would inherit but her bills would get paid first and you would get the rest. That being said - call Area on Aging and find out how to file a hardship case. Adult Protective Services in CA would say you are not able to live on your own - but might assist in alternate living arrangements - check with your local Area on Aging first.
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freqflyer Aug 2019
In my State, reverse mortgages will allow a loan holder to be away from his/her house for one year. The reason for this is in case the loan holder improves in rehab and can return to the house.
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Yes and no. They. I thought had stopped that in 2014. If hardship can be shown.,you can fight it.
For anyone else reading this..suggestion..sale the home before getting Medi-Cal benefits.
www.saleyourhome.org
I am a social worker, as well as a Realtor.
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Dora1956 Aug 2019
You are social worker / realtor just for state of California? Is that what medi-cal means? If that’s the case I’m sure your laws are totally different from other states?
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Crippledguy, Buckeye would put you under the Area Agency on Aging, Region One, call them and ask for help. They can explain the lien and direct you to an attorney who can help you.

Is mom on ALTCS? If yes, that is most likely what the lien is about. Have your brother send you a copy of the document and have that in front of you when you call.
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Hi..
Your forgot to say Why there's a line. So I'll tell you my experience.

My husband owned over 100,000 in taxes. State & federal. Didn't have it, plain n simple.

So 3 liens slapped on our beautiful home. No big deal while living in it, know that first off. Ok?
All it means is this:
They want money any way possible. They do a search for property, they found it. Placed liens saying the following;
We' get our money on this!!!
Your sell, we get paid first in line.

That' it....
No one moves, loses home, has to move out, disabled or not!
That is info for USA.
Also: we ended up selling, government got paid, & we got the rest. :)
Oh, also it's your mom's home as well right? Or yours?
Eitherway, pls RELAX you aren't needing to move.
Enjoy the peace of mind & Google it, that's how I got my info in the beginning. No attorney needed.
Cindy
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Sebastian ,
something sounds fishy
what department of the government sent you the letter?
what is the reason for the lien?
what is the amount of the lien ?
What is the value of the property?
They cannot take a home that is worth more than you owe
do you have a title policy?

Arizona is a Homestead state so there are laws that protect your primary residence as well as your only vehicle
https://statelaws.findlaw.com/arizona-law/arizona-homestead-laws.html

are you on Indian Land? Indian Leased Land is different but you gotta be really behind in Land rent before the BIA will start termination
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Dora1956 Aug 2019
It would seem that nothing protects from owed taxes. As for Homestead isn’t there only so much $$ thats protected?
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What is the lien actually for? Are there unpaid bills or taxes? Those issues might need to be resolved before you can have your name added to the deed/title. Your mother has planned for you to keep the house, but you don't assume that ownership until her death. You would have more protection now if you were a legal owner along with your mother.
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Is the house in your name? If not, I would think a quit claim deed or a bill if sale (for $1) would be sufficient. However, they might claim fraud since it was done recently. The
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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!
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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!
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