Medicaid Qualification and Your House
Your mom had a debilitating stroke, and you immediately begin to stress over whether she will lose her house if she applies for LTC Medicaid. This is an intricate area of Medicaid law. The focus of this discussion is on what factors determine whether the house is treated as a protected asset or a countable asset for financial qualification purposes. A related topic is the Medicaid lien on the home after the applicant dies. The regulations on that issue are complicated and deserve a separate discussion.
Protected assets are those that do not have to be spent down. Countable assets are those that do. Here is how it works at the 30,000 foot level in Delaware.
The two main factors are marital status and the setting where care is provided. The home is a protected asset if the applicant is married, regardless of whether the care setting is in the home or a facility. The reason is that the community spouse (the one not applying for Medicaid) has to have a place to live.
If the applicant is single and lives alone, the house is a protected asset if care is provided in the home (community waiver program). If the applicant is receiving care in a facility, then the home is a countable asset that must be sold and the proceeds spent down.
There are other variable factors that may lead to characterizing the home as protected versus countable. The final characterization is fact sensitive, so working with an Elder Law attorney on this issue is imperative.