Is there any help for an elderly person to keep their home from the government if going to a nursing home? -

Is there any help for an elderly person to keep their home from the government if going to a nursing home?


i have been taking care of my 91 year old aunt for about 10 years, the last two she lived with me, she is re-hab now and is unable to walk or stand, so I may have no choice but to put her in a nursing home, she gave me the house and land 30 years ago, but told me not to put it in my name untill she passed, so this is what i did,she even has it in her will for me to get this property,i gave up my life with my family to take care of her and now it looks like i am the one who is loseing,does anyone know of a way for me to keep what is already mine?please reply to this if you can help me.thanks

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As others have said, you need an elder law attorney & you need to do this BEFORE you do the Medicaid application for her. Right now if she is in rehab then she likely is having her stay paid by MediCARE but that will run out soon and then either she goes home or stays in the facility on private pay, LTC insurance or applies for MedicAID.

however you have been her caregiver and for the property there would be a Medicaid caregiver exemption for you….now just how the caregiver exemption is done (like allowed when they apply for Medicaid or you have to wait till they die and file for it) really depends on how Medicaid runs in your state. Each state's program is managed dependent on how your state laws view property rights, death laws, etc.

What we all are referring to regarding the property is MERP - which is Medicaid Estate Recovery Program. If your aunt needs for Medicaid to pay for her NH stay, then her home is an exempt asset during her lifetime (by & large this is true for most states) but upon her death the property becomes nonexempt and subject to a claim or lien on it by the state by MERP. The issue with claims & liens (which depends on your state, like for TX it is a claim against the estate and a class 7 claim at that) is that they have to be lifted or removed in order for the property to be transferred (like to you) or sold on the open market. Now MERP has exemptions, exclusions and hardships which can be filed by family. You can file for a caregiver exemption; working farms are exclusions too. You may qualify for other exemptions too - this is why working with an elder law attorney will be valuable as they will know how to deal with this.

BUT there will be a more IMMEDIATE problem if auntie needs to go on Medicaid. Medicaid requires a co-pay or their "SOC" (share of cost) in order for them to be in a NH & on Medicaid. All of their income (like her SS or any retirement) must be paid to the NH each month. They are allowed to keep a small amount as their personal needs allowance (it ranges from $ 35 - 90 a month depending on your state). Allowance is really only enough for their beauty salon costs @ the NH, their cable or phone costs @ the NH and some clothing replacement. Essentially auntie will have no income - none - nada - zilch of her $ to pay for anything on the property once in a NH and on Medicaid. Do you have your own income to pay for whatever (taxes, insurance, utilities, maintenance, etc) on the property for the rest of your aunt's lifetime? I would suggest that you go through what the real costs are for owning & using the property and then look hard to see if you an afford to maintain the property & pay for everything on the house for a couple of years strictly on your own. What sadly often happens for caregivers is that they have been foregoing having a paying job as they have been a unpaid caregiver and then when the elder goes into the NH, the caregiver just cannot afford any of the costs of the house as they have no income. The house ends up being sold and since it still is in elder's ownership, all of the proceeds from the sale have to be paid to the NH as a spend-down of the elders asset base. You want to do whatever you can to keep that from happening and you need an attorney to guide you on all this. Good luck & start getting those figures & documents together.
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If you have lived there and cared for her for ten years, you should not be booted out, not even by Medicaid. If it is an income producing farm, it is also protected. If you have written proof that she gave it to you 30 years ago, it is protected. See an elder law attorney asap.
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Please consult an attorney who specializes in Elder Law. I assume that your aunt will need to be on Medicaid to pay for nursing home care. In that case the state can/will try to recoup some of their expenses through the sale of the house after Aunt passes. But there are exceptions. Under some circumstances a relative who has cared for and kept the homeowner out of a nursing home for two years or more can receive the house.

It is too bad you didn't have legal advice thirty years ago about the best way to transfer the house to you while aunt still lived in it. Don't go without legal advice this time!

(If she does not need Medicaid and can pay for the nursing home out of her own resources, then this is not an issue. The house will pass to you via her will.)
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