“I heard the state is going to take my house if my spouse gets admitted to a nursing home. Is that true?”
We have many clients who have the unfortunate decision of putting a loved one into a nursing home. When it’s your spouse, it can be a major concern because you’re worried about your own financial health. And we have many clients who have come in saying “I’m going to lose my home” or “They’re going to put a lien on my home so I can’t do anything. I don’t know what to do. I think I’ll have to take my spouse back to live with me at home even though I physically cannot take care of them and it’s not the best choice.”
The house is actually an excluded resource for Medicaid eligibility purposes. And if there’s a spouse living in the home, a lien cannot be placed on the home. So, we tell our clients “Don’t worry about the home when you’re married.”
There are other situations where a home is also protected. For instance, if a child moved into a home and has been taking care of the parent for two years, effectively keeping them out of the nursing home, the house could be transferred to that child under an exception called The Child Caregiver Exception.
This couple or individual also might have a child with disabilities. It turns out that a house can be transferred to a child with disabilities as well as additional funds. But the house is a protected asset, especially when there’s a married couple.
If you’re an individual and there’s no child caregiver and no disabled child, then the house might have to be sold or it might have to be rented, in which case, you’d have money to pay for your own care for a period of time.