Can I be forced to sell my home to pay for nursing home costs?

Generally speaking, the answer is no – except in cases of fraud.

Owning a house will likely not affect your eligibility for Medicaid assistance with the cost of nursing home care because you are allowed up to several hundred thousand dollars of ownership interest in your homestead (the house where you otherwise would and did reside). 

Even if you have more than that amount of interest in your house, you may be eligible for the “spend down” program, wherein Medicaid determines the amount that you can and should be able to afford to spend on your medical care each month (based upon your assets and income).  All medical expenses above that “spend down” amount would be covered by Medicaid.

Once you are deemed eligible for Medicaid assistance, it is important to note that Medicaid often CAN seek reimbursement for paying your medical bills (including nursing home bills) by (a) filing a lien on your real estate (house); and/or (b) filing a claim against your estate.  Neither a lien nor an estate claim will be filed until and unless you have resided in a nursing home for at least 120 days.  [If you are concerned about an estate claim and/or lien being filed, please note that (a) your heirs may request a waiver of estate claims by showing undue hardship; and (b) a lien will not be foreclosed upon except in cases of fraud and/or after you pass away; but the lien will affect you whenever you sell your house.]  A lien will also not be filed against your house if it is lawfully occupied by your spouse, by your child who is under the age of 21, or by your child who is over the age of 21 and is blind and/or disabled.  

For more information, check out this video answer from attorney Angel Wawrzynek. If you need help forming a will or estate plan, contact us today at 855-522-5291 for a free consultation.