Tuesday, February 17, 2015

If I or my spouse goes on Medical Assistance, will we have to sell our home?

It is very common for clients to call and be worried that if they or their spouse has to go into a nursing home, the County will take their home away from them.  This is not the way Medical Assistance works.

First, the County does not take assets away from people who apply for Medical Assistance.  What the County does is say that it will not start paying bills for nursing home care until certain income and asset criteria are met. 

Second, the rules for what an applicant can keep classify a homestead as exempt as long as one of the spouses resides there. As long as you or your spouse is living in the home or has a reasonable expectation that you can return to the home, the County cannot force the sale of the home.    

However, when neither of you is living in the home, then the County can force a sale.  Also, if one of you has been living in the house and dies while the other is in the nursing home or after the other has already died, the County also can assert a lien against the home to pay for expenses the County has incurred for either of your care.  

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