Most people cannot afford to pay a nursing home thousands of dollars a month. That’s why so many people turn to Medicaid for assistance. But can you own a house and qualify for Medicaid? Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney Bill Henry provides some answers in this article.
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You Can Own a Home & Qualify for Medicaid
Many people who own a home think that disqualifies them from receiving Medicaid. If you’re one of those folks, you’re in for some good news: it is possible to qualify for Medicaid and own a home.
You can receive Medicaid, own your home, and still protect your assets in the event you have to enter a nursing home.
Available Protections in 2021
For 2021, the government allows up to $603,000 to be protected for single people.
That means up to that amount will not factor in when Medicaid determines whether you are eligible for nursing home care.
If You are Married
For a married couple, even if one spouse is healthy, then 100 percent of the worth of your house is protected – even if it’s worth $1 million. That does not matter. Your $1 million home will not prevent you from becoming eligible for Medicaid to help pay your bills.
A lot of people have equity in their house, but they do not necessarily have the money on hand to pay $8000 to $9,000 a month for nursing home care.
Colorado May Try to Recover Medicaid Assistance
It is important to know that in Colorado there is something called the Medicaid Asset Recovery Lien or Medicaid Recovery.
In the event someone receives Medicaid benefits before they die, it is possible for the state to come back later and ask for some of that money back. They often get it through the Medicaid beneficiary’s house. Let’s look at an example.
Your Mom & Asset Recovery Example
Let’s say your mother receives Medicaid benefits to help pay for her nursing home care. It is possible that the state could decide to place a lien on her house after she passes away. That means your mother’s estate now owes the state whatever it paid for her nursing care, and the state plans to take the equity in the house to pay for it.
The rules to all of this are complex. If your mother was single or widowed at the time of her death, the state may press for repayment. That means her house may have to be sold to repay the state of Colorado. But the rules do provide for some exceptions.
If any of the following circumstances exist regarding your mother’s estate, then the state cannot press for payment. The estate provides for:
- a spouse, a child under 21, or a blind or disabled dependent;
- a brother or sister of the recipient has an equity interest in the home and lived in the home for at least one year before the recipient went into a nursing facility, and who lived in the home continuously since the date of entry into the nursing facility; or
- a son or daughter of the recipient lived in the home for at least two years before the recipient entered a nursing facility, whose care allowed the recipient to delay nursing facility placement, and has continuously lived in the home since the date of entry into the nursing facility.
The good news is that if you do have a house, it will not stop you from qualifying for Medicaid. If you’re single, the equity of your home needs to be under $600,300. If you’re married, then the value of your home does not matter.
Our Medicaid Planning Attorneys Can Help
Some of the rules regarding homeownership, Medicaid, and nursing home care are complicated and confusing. Our Estate Planning & Elder Law Team can help you sort out your options so you can qualify for Medicaid if you ever need it. Set up a free case assessment when you call 303-688-0944 or click here to schedule online.