My brother has lived at home with my mom for 52 years. We are planning on admitting my mom to a nursing home and appplying for Medicaid. My brotrher would like to stay in the home. My question is will Medicaid force my mother to sell her home or can my briother stay? I know they won't force a spouse out but what about a child?

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The Medicaid program doesn't force anyone to sell their homestead but does require that all the Medicaid recipient non exempt assets are used towards paying for their NH care. For many, the house ends up being sold as the family cannot manage to keep the house once mom's SS & retirement check isn't there to pay.

Mom can keep the house and it is an exempt asset for Medicaid review. BUT upon death is subject to MERP - Medicaid Estate Recovery Program. MERP is done via a claim or a lien on the property and usually through probate court.How it's done is very much dependent on each states death, estate, probate law. In order to transfer the ownership of the property and get a clean title, you will need a MERP release on the property.

Now the MERP claim process is not automatic and MERP does an evaluation as to whether to actively file a claim or lien on the property. You all will need to file for an exemption for your brother. Whether your brother will qualify under the many MERP exemptions depends on his situation - like if he provided care for her for years prior to her admission to the NH which kept her out of the NH for 2 or more years, or if he is low income and his not having the house qualifies him to get into low income housing, or he is disabled, etc. Your state should have the details on exemptions and most things have to be done within a very short time frame (4 - 6 weeks after death) with documentation.

Jeanne brought up a very good point about the costs of property. Remember, once they are in NH/LTC there will be no $ to be used on the home as ALL their monthly income less personal needs of $ 30-60 a month MUST be paid to the facility. So someone will need to pay for all house expenses that is still in parent’s name.
Insurance, property taxes, utilities, maintenance and repairs, lawn care, etc will have to be paid by family as mom will not have any $$ to do this. If the home still has a mortgage, this can be a lot of $$ every mo.
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Medicaid recipients are allowed to own a house. Mom will not be forced to sell the house. She will not have the means to pay taxes, upkeep, insurance, etc. Can your brother do that?

Was your brother providing caregiving servies for mom up until now? That will make a difference after your mom dies and the state wants to recover some of their costs through the sale of the house.

It might be worthwhile for you to apply for Medicaid with the help of an Elder Law attorney, to make sure you are not missing any benefits and that you are positioned as well as you can be for the future.
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