Basic Eligibility for Medicaid Home Care
To receive Medicaid home care you must be financially and medically eligible. Financial eligibility is based on based on income and resources. However, there are common ways to separate certain income and assets such that they are not counted against you when determining Medicaid eligibility. Additionally some assets are excluded. For example, each spouse may have a burial fund and a pre-paid non-refundable funeral agreement.
Additionally a home or co-op is excluded if the equity is less than $828,000. However, if there is a spouse or minor or disabled child living in the home, there is no equity limit. If the equity is above $828,000 and no spouse or minor or disabled child is living in the home, you can reduce the equity by taking out a mortgage or reverse mortgage. Medicaid may not put a lien on a home as long as you or your spouse live in the home. When you own a home, you should consult with an estate planning or elder law attorney to take steps to protect your home because Medicaid may place a lien on the home if you later enter a nursing home and no spouse lives there or if the home is part of the estate when you die.
Additionally you should be aware of a transfer penalty for transferring a home which can disqualify you or your spouse from receiving nursing home care for up to five years after the transfer and can trigger high income taxes on appreciation of the home. Consult with an experienced attorney for your estate planning needs.