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Navigating Medicaid: When Selling Your Home Makes Sense


Introduction


The process of qualifying for Medicaid can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to determining the fate of your assets, including your home. For many seniors and their families, deciding when to sell a house to qualify for Medicaid can be a complex and emotionally charged decision. In this blog, we will explore the considerations that individuals and families should take into account when making this crucial choice.


Understanding Medicaid Eligibility


Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that provides health coverage to millions of Americans, including eligible low-income adults, children, pregnant women, elderly adults, and people with disabilities. To qualify for Medicaid, applicants must meet certain income and asset requirements. When it comes to assets, Medicaid has strict limits, and your primary residence is often a significant factor in determining eligibility.


Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Assets


In the context of Medicaid eligibility, exempt assets are those that are not counted towards the eligibility determination (qualification for benefits), and non-exempt, or countable assets, are those that count toward eligibility determination. Most assets, including but not limited to, cash, bank accounts, retirement plans (401(k), 403(b), traditional/Roth IRAs), recreation vehicles, collector items, loans/notes payable, vacation homes, investment properties, etc.


In most states, a primary residence is considered an exempt asset as long as the homeowner or their spouse lives in the home. However, if the homeowner enters a nursing home or other long-term care facility and no spouse or dependent relative continues to live in the home, Medicaid rules vary regarding the treatment of the property. In most cases, the home can still be exempt.


When to Consider Selling Your Home


1. Entering a Long-Term Care Facility: If you or your loved one needs to move into a nursing home or assisted living facility, selling the home might be necessary to cover the costs of care. Medicaid can help with these costs, but the sale of the home could provide additional financial support.



2. Financial Constraints: If you or your family cannot afford the carrying costs of the home, then it does not make sense to keep it. There are ways an experienced elder law attorney can help you and your family keep anywhere from half to all of the proceeds from the sale of the home.


3. Preserving Medicaid Benefits: Transferring ownership of the home to a qualified family member or setting up certain types of trusts might be considered as options to preserve the home while still qualifying for Medicaid. Consulting with an experienced elder law attorney can provide valuable insights into these strategies.


4. Maintaining the Home Becomes Difficult: As individuals age, the maintenance of a home can become challenging. In such cases, selling the home and moving into a more manageable living situation, such as a senior community or an assisted living facility, can improve quality of life and overall well-being.


Conclusion


Deciding when to sell a house to qualify for Medicaid is a complex decision that involves careful consideration of various factors, including financial stability, long-term care needs, and personal preferences. It is essential to consult with financial advisors and legal experts who specialize in elder law to explore all available options and make an informed choice that aligns with your unique circumstances. By understanding the nuances of Medicaid eligibility and seeking professional guidance, individuals and families can navigate this challenging process with greater confidence and peace of mind.


For more information:

  • Call Chawla Legal Group at 586-273-7157 or 248-519-2425, or

  • Register for a workshop at www.chawlalegal.com/workshops

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