Will Medicaid take my home?

By: Peter R. Certo, Jr. Probate and Estate Planning attorney

In Ohio, and many other states, when it comes to nursing home issues the quick answer is no, they will not take your home. Contrary to what you have heard Medicaid does not take your home or anything else. All Medicaid does is determine whether it will pay for nursing home care or not. If your assets exceed the guidelines they will not pay. If your assets are lower than the guidelines they will pay. If you do not qualify for Medicaid you simply need to make arrangements to directly pay the nursing home from your individual assets.

If you enter a nursing home, are single, and own your own home, it may become an issue. If you stay in the nursing home for more than six months Medicaid will presume the stay is permanent. They will then require you list the home for sale but they have no legal ability to take the home. If you fail to list the home for sale they may cease paying the nursing home bills but that is all they can do. The benefits will continue as long as the house is listed for sale. If the house sells, Medicaid is only entitled to the amount they have paid as of the date of sale, and no more. If the proceeds exceed the amount Medicaid is due, you keep the balance and you go back to paying for the nursing home on your own until the money runs out, then Medicaid will pay again.

If your spouse is in the nursing home, and you are in the marital home, Medicaid will not require the sale of the house and you can stay there free of any interference.