For most people, admitting that it is time to consider moving to a nursing home is not easy. A nursing home, after all, means living in a community setting without the independence you now have. Moreover, giving up your home is often seen as giving up your freedom. If you will be relying on Medicaid to pay all, or some, of the costs associated with the nursing home you may literally be concerned about losing your home. Specifically, you may be asking yourself “ Can the nursing home take my house? ”
A wide range of myths and misconceptions surround the Medicaid program, particularly with regard to Medicaid covering long-term care costs. Like many people, you may be worried that by turning the Medicaid to cover your nursing home costs, either the nursing home or the Medicaid program will take your assets from you, including your home. A better understanding of how Medicaid determines eligibility may help clear up the issue.
To qualify for Medicaid you must have both income and countable resources below the program limits. Both limits are very low — $2,000 is the countable resources limit for an individual applicant. This does not, however, mean that you will lose your home if you need to qualify for Medicaid. Your home is usually not considered as a countable resource. Other assets, however, could be effectively lost if you are required to “spend-down” in order to qualify for benefits. If your countable resources exceed the program limits you must “spend-down” those assets, meaning use those assets first, before Medicaid will start paying for your care.
The other concern is the Medicaid Asset Recovery program. In essence, the Asset Recovery program attempts to secure repayment for funds expended on a participant by filing a claim against the recipient’s estate after death. Your home may be exempt if a spouse, dependents, or other family members are living in the home at the time of your death; however, other estate assets could be at risk here as well.
If you have additional questions or concerns about Medicaid planning, or your Illinois estate plan in general, contact the experienced Illinois estate planning attorneys at Nash, Nash, Bean & Ford, LLP by calling 309-944-2188 to schedule your appointment today.
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