Medicaid Eligibility for Nursing Home
My mother who lives in Nebraska has been diagnosed with Alzheimers. She owns a small home, my father is deceased. She has small amount of money in IRA, but basically lives off her Social Security each month. If it comes to a point where she needs assisted living/nursing home and she still owns her home, will she be disqualified? We were thinking about having her live with us and take turns with my other sister caring for her at our own houses, and selling her house. If this does not work out, or in a couple years if she does need assisted living/nursing home care, will she be eligible for Medicaid?
1 Answer from Attorneys
Re: Medicaid Eligibility for Nursing Home
You should sit down with a lawyer to work out a plan now as there are several options. These are a few of the considerations you want to address:
1. Her home would be an exempt asset to qualify for Medicaid provided she has the intent of returning home. In the case of Alzheimer's however, it would be difficult to establish the intent of returning home once she is placed in a nursing home.
2. Medicaid has a 5 year look-back period for qualifying Medicaid recipients. If she sells the home now and enters a nursing home within 5 years, which is very likely with Alzheimer's; then the money she receives for the home would be considered a disqualifying asset which would need to be spent on her care before Medicaid would step in.
3. Depending on the value of her equity in the home, it may be possible to purchase a Medicaid qualified annuity with the proceeds from the home and still be eligible for Medicaid. The income from the annuity would be spent first on her care and Medicaid would cover the rest if she qualifies. Most financial advisers are familiar with Medicaid qualified annuities.
4. Providing care for her by the family members can be a very good solution, but it is also a tremendous undertaking and can take an emotional toll on the caregiver without a lot of outside support. The provider can and should be paid for the care they provide; and if the amounts paid are reasonable for the extent of care required, would not be counted as an asset within the 5 year look-back period.
5. There are a number of options available and many of the decisions will be unique to her circumstances and your preferences. You should sit down with a lawyer to discuss some of the options available without accidentally disqualifying her for Medicaid.
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