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My husband passed in January of this year. He had NOTHING! I keep receiving a letter from the state of Michigan titled Estate Recovery. How do I fill that out? Do I sign it? Everything is in my name because I worked and took care of him for 42 years! How do I fill this out? They are requesting death Certificate & marriage license. He said he was going to die broke, and he did! I need help filling this paperwork out! Do I sign it? I don't want them to come after my property.

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Escape first a lil’ background......Medicaid is required to attempt a recovery of all costs paid by Medicaid from the estate of the deceased. The requirement was put into law via Bush era DRA - Deficit Reduction Act. States take 2 paths to Estate Recovery/MERP...... some have Dept of Health workers or Medicaid compliance staff do it OR states have an outside contractor do it, & there’s 2 main OCs PRG & HMS. HMS has about 1/3 the states & counting. The OC get a % of the recovery (varies by state, avg abt 13%,) in addition to contract management fees. They are essentially debt collectors.

If you’ve ever dealt with debt collectors, the MERP ones go by the same playbook. They are very proactive...

The initial letter & questionnaire you got was a NOI - notice of intent to file (a claim or a lien). It’s not a warm & fuzzy sorry for your loss but more like he’s dead, it cost $115,897. 23 & when can we expect payment. Depending on your state it can be a few or several page questionnaire. The ? Are about determination if he died “intestate” or with a will; if there is an estate; who heirs are; and a rough idea on assets. The marriage certificate I’d bet is abt figuring out if you are a spouse under your states laws. The NOI usually has a defined time limit are in which to respond, like 60-90 days. The letters usually state something like if you do not reply by the 60/90 days, it then implies that the amount is totally valid and a lien or claim to the estate can go forward & that interest is applied each mo to the debt. 

If he died intestate, that’s a sticky as most states have intestate deaths so that all assets escheat to the state. So state in control & heirs/family have to prove heirship.....

If hubs Medicaid application included the home as a exempt asset, MERP considers it part of his estate. Ditto for a car. Unless you can document that they should not be part of his estate. If your state Medicaid has it such that the community spouse keeps the home with no attempt on recovery on it ever, then if it were me, I’d fill out the questionnaire and get a Release of Lien / claim from the state to have for when you sell the house years from now. It’s done & over.

But if not then Here’s where imo it gets sticky & your state laws & Medicaid system get to be mucho Importante. If yours is a community property state, MERP doesn’t give a rats butt if you consider it all yours. If your states laws allow for a lien to be placed on the property, MERP can do that. If that happens you’ve imo got to get an atty to deal with & likely open probate. That lien then become a Claims Against the Estate and dealt with via however probate laws run for your state. That means they have to file within time frame for probate and respond to any requests by the court, atty or executor. Orders signed by judge from probate court trump anything MERP.

MERP is an UNSECURED claim or debt.
Unless your state allows for lien placed on homestead property, there is nothing they can attach to as it’s unsecured debt.

Calmly reread the letter. Think if you can answer all the questions and IF by doing so, will take MERP off your back. Only if items were attached in some way to his SS# are they an asset of his estate for the form. If you do respond, make a copy of what you send & mail it certified mail with the return registered card (green postcard). The duo is like $8.00 at USPO. If it were me and I could legitimately answer the ?s and show his assets under 3k, I’d do it. The feds have a cost-benefit requirements for MERP, if assets under 3k or value of estate under 10k or MERP spent under a set amounts (I think it’s 2k but I’ve been told this varies by state), then it’s not cost effective to persue Recovery. 
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I guess that your husband was on Medicaid, right? In the Medicaid application process the house owned by the applicant is exempt -- it doesn't count towards the assets you can have and still qualify. But after the Medicaid recipient dies, the state must try to recover any of the costs they've paid out, and the only source is typically the house. But the spouse has it until the spouse dies. The state is doing its duty investigating if there any assets they can recover their costs from.

In your place I would contact Area Agency on Aging and inquire about some help in filling this out.
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I don't think I'd do this without a lawyer.
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Because you owned everything, I'll Don't see how Medicaid can recoup anything. Like said, they are trying to get some of their money back, doesn't mean they will. I think a consult with a lawyer would be good.
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I would contact an attorney. You were married 40+ years, Medicaid considers anything of yours is half his. Medicaid does not recognise nor honor prenuptial agreements.
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This is part of what it says on that website:
Statutory Exemptions to Estate Recovery

MDHHS will defer recovery if any of the following individuals is living:

1. A Medicaid beneficiary's spouse.

2. A Medicaid beneficiary's child who is less than 21 years old.

3. A Medicaid beneficiary's child who is blind or permanently disabled.

Also, MDHHS will defer recovery while one of the following is living in the home:

1. A survivor who lived in the home and provided care that allowed the Medicaid recipient to remain in their home for at least two years immediately prior to the Medicaid recipient's admission into a medical facility.

2. A Medicaid beneficiary's sibling who has an equity interest in the home and who lived in the home for at least one year immediately prior to the Medicaid beneficiary's admission into a medical facility.

Certain Medicare cost sharing benefits are exempt from Estate Recovery.

The above exemptions are temporary. Additionally, MDHHS will temporarily defer Estate Recovery if it would result in an undue hardship.
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Hope this helps elderlawanswers.com/protecting-your-house-from-medicaid-estate-recovery-12155
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I called them today. Let them know that my insurance paid for all of his medical bills and why are they even bothering me? She said his name was on a house in 2007. I let her know we lost that house years ago and he had nothing! She said well, if you could send his dc, that would be nice but I didn’t have to fill out the paper they sent. I told her I might if she was lucky! I let her know my attorney would be
Contacting them about the harassment! She backed off!
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Call medicaid, explain your situation and see what they say. Good luck.
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Please contact an elder care attorney, before contacting medicaid.

You likely signed forms that declared a lack of assets that made your husband eligible for medicaid.

However, Medicaid has a legal "lookback" period, Therefore, if you hid money or lied about anything within that time frame it could be considered medicaid fraud.  This is a crime, with a prison sentence or steep fines.

You might have done this inadvertently.

Still, ignorance of the law is not an excuse and will not protect you. That is why you need to talk to an attorney.

I am pretty sure medicaid can not take a legal spouses home, while they are alive and living in it, or even if they go to a hospital and are intending to move back to the home.

Medicaid will likely put a lien on the house and when a legal spouse dies, than they can take it.
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