ASK THE PROS

Will Selling My Home Mess Up My Husband’s Medicaid?

Justin, About 18 months ago my husband was approved for nursing home Medicaid.  I was allowed to keep my house.  I’m considering a move to assisted living, but I’d have to sell my home to afford it.  Will selling my home mess up my husband’s Medicaid coverage?  – Sue

Sue, In the past I would have been able to ask a couple of follow up questions and, based on your responses, give you a definitive answer to this question.  Unfortunately these days, things at DHS have gotten much less definite in this area.

Until recently, the money made from the sale of a home in a case like yours would not have any impact on your spouse’s Medicaid coverage assuming both of the following are true.  First, you would have to establish that your husband’s name was not on the deed when the property was sold.  Second, you would have to show that the money was paid only to you and deposited into an account to which he has no access.  In most cases, that would be it—show those two things and the home sale would not affect your spouse’s Medicaid coverage.

Although there has been no change to the published rules and regulations in this area, we’ve recently seen a variety of positions taken by DHS caseworkers in situations like this.  I can no longer tell you with confidence that DHS may not cancel your husband’s Medicaid coverage if you sell your home, even if you meet the criteria I mentioned.

At this point, at least until we’ve had time to nail down a definitive answer from DHS, my best advice is that you not attempt to handle something like this on your own.  If it is important that you sell your home, then call one of our attorneys to make sure the transaction is structured in the safest way possible and to talk through best and worst case scenarios that may come out the sale before you go any further.  And to learn more about Medicaid planning in general, check out our website at ElrodFirm.com.

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