Do I have to sell my home to be eligible for Medicaid benefits?

This is the first post in a series discussing what happens to your home when you apply for Medicaid benefits.

When you enter a nursing home and need to apply for Medicaid, the issue of whether your home must be sold can be a concern. People often misunderstand Medicaid’s rules regarding homes, which can make emotional conversations about a loved one’s care even more complex.

Generally, you do not need to sell your home to be eligible for Medicaid. In Pennsylvania, a Medicaid applicant’s principal place of residence, up to $543,000 equity value in 2014, is an “excluded resource.” This means the state will not count the home against you, the applicant, when determining your eligibility for benefits. For the home to earn “excluded” status, you must state in writing that you intend to return to the home.

The home may also be an excluded resource, with no limit on equity value, based on who is still living there. If the Medicaid applicant’s spouse is still living in the home, the home is excluded; this is also true if the applicant’s child — under age 21, blind, or permanently disabled – is living in the home.

Any additional residences, other than the primary residence, are protected if another exclusion applies (for example: the property is income producing) or if the property can be preserved as part of the Community Spouse Resource Allowance (CSRA).

With assistance from a certified elder law attorney, a number of strategies may be used to help protect the family home. At Sykes Elder Law, we have years of experience in Medicaid Planning and can help you find the plan that best suits your needs.

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