The Elrod Firm


Does Mom Need An Attorney To Get On Medicaid?

Melissa, my father just passed away, and my mother is going to live in a nursing home.  All Mom has is her home, a couple of life insurance policies on her life, and about $2,000 in the bank.  Since Medicaid allows a person to have $2,000 in assets, I don’t need a lawyer for this, right? – Jolene

Jolene, it can be a scary thing to face putting a parent in the nursing home, and you have enough to worry about without worrying how Mom is going to pay the nursing home bill.  I’m sure that a visit to a lawyer’s office is not at the top of your list of things you’d like to do.  ]

However, trying to go this alone could have significant consequences for you and your family.  You are correct that Medicaid allows a person to have $2,000 in assets and still obtain Medicaid benefits to pay for nursing home care.  However, did you know that life insurance policies may count as part of that $2,000 asset limit? 

Even though Mom has very little cash in the bank, those 2 life insurance policies you mentioned may be enough to disqualify her from Medicaid.  Since each month in a nursing home typically costs between $5,000 – $7,000, even 1 month of disqualification can be very costly.  Also, you mentioned Mom still owns a home.  Mom can qualify for Medicaid and still own her home.  However, did you know that at Mom’s death, the government will put a lien on the home and recoup any benefits they paid on Mom’s behalf? 

You may have options for protecting the home, depending on its value and whether anyone in the family is interested in saving it.  The life insurance and the home are red flags for me that you should visit with a lawyer.  Call today to set up a no-charge strategy session to find out how we can help with issues like this.  To learn more, check out our website,

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