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I'm 63 and have been her caregiver. Do I get to stay or will I be homeless?! Any advice will be helpful.

If you provided full time care for her for 2 years prior that kept her from a NH, then in theory you should qualify for the caregiver exemption to Medicaids Estate Recovery policy.

But its a sticky.... and how easily accomplished depends on how your state runs Medicaid and estate recovery. I’d suggest you meet with an elder law atty to find out how your state does this and they shepherd her application and your caregiver exemption.

Some states have this done purely as part of the Estate Recovery program, so the exemption is filed after death. And you have to provide a letter from her old MD or SW if she was on a community based program (like PACE) that you provided caregiving for 2 years prior to her NH entry that kept her out of a NH. Whether that’s hard or easy to do years from now is a crap shoot. Other states allow the caregiver exemption to be filed for in tandem with the elders LTC Medicaid application- which is the route to go if at all possible imho. A good experience atty will know what’s needed proactively & set up before her Medicaid application is ever filed.

If you at all worked full time, the exemption won’t fly. But There are all sorts of other exemptions and exclusions in addition to caregiver exemption. Low income heir is another one.

Has as anyone told you about the required copay or SOC (share of cost) for LTC Medicaid? This often comes as a surprise to families. Once she files for Medicaid, she is basically required to have almost all her monthly income - like her SS$ or other retirements- to be paid to the facility as her copay. All she will have as available $ is the small personal needs allowance each mo. PNA averages like $50-60 a mo, and realistically covers her beauty shoppe visits or some toiletries or clothing replacement. So all property costs on the house that is in her name must be paid by you. If her income has been needed to keep the household afloat, that $ flat will not be there. If there is a mortgage (horrors!), it must be paid by you. Ditto for insurance, property taxes, utilities, repairs, etc. You live in the house, so you benefit from it, so none of these costs can be deducted from the Medicaid tally she is adding up each month by being in the NH.

For some states, property can stay in their name, empty as an exempt asset as long as they file a “intent to return” form; and states can allow reasonable property costs to be deducted from the Medicaid tally if detailed documentation submitted to MERP. The caregiver exemption means that as caregiver you do not have to pay rent to live in house. Actually I don’t think the state can force you to rent the property; but you basically have to have the wallet to cover all property costs on a home you don’t own till whenever..... And that’s the rub as inevitably there will be disagreements btw family as to paying costs on mom’s house unless it’s just you & you can cover all costs.

Sometimes caregiver may find themselves without income & unable to afford the house. Please please look at property costs. If realistically mom’s $ is needed to keep everything afloat, you may have to continue to caregiver her at home and figure out some sort of help from other family or get her onto hospice (so hospice comes 2 or 3 times a week for a few hours to help with bathing and providing equipment that makes caregiving easier). Hospice is a MediCARE benefit and has no estate recovery like Medicaid does.

It may be that you caregive another year but mom does a totally legit caregiver agreement with you and her so she pays you to caregive. All above board with taxes paid. You save all that you can so that $ covers the income lost when she finally moves into a NH. She lives at home, paying you to caregive till she really really needs higher level of care.

Also kinda need to continue it as her homestead if at all possible. Intent to return letter should do this. But tax assessor may require their own form, otherwise huge tax increases.
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Reply to igloo572
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If you need to apply
for Medicaid, there may be a question on the application “do you plan on returning to your home?”, mark it Yes. In California, this makes your home exempt.
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Reply to SofiaAmirpoor
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igloo572 Jan 14, 2019
Sofia - it is “exempt” during the elders lifetime. But upon their death it goes from an exempt asset of their person to a nonexempt asset of their Estate.
And that is the rub...
All states - due to Bush era DRA / deficit reduction act of 2005 - have to do an attempt to recover costs paid by Medicaid from any assets of the deceased. It’s the MERP or MERS program. How it’s done, like whether done by state employees or by an outside contractor; and how family / heirs can deal with it really imho interdependent on your states property laws, probate laws and ability for family / heirs and whomever named Executor as per a valid will that is willing & able to pay property costs & deal with MERP, probate and has kept meticulous records on property costs during the NH years as well as since death till everything sorted out via a distribution in probate. Family & their wallet or purse have to be all-in for the long haul and willing to run risk that it may or may not work out.
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We did not live in the house my MIL and DH owned jointly but she did live there, and we were told that it had to be rented and that her half of the rental income needed to be dedicated to her care.
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Reply to AnnReid
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If she’s going on Medicaid and your state has a caregiver exemption, you should be able to stay in the home. You’ll be responsible for all taxes & upkeep of course
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Reply to worriedinCali
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