Many older adults find that they need Medicaid to cover their care costs as they age. If someone requires a multiple-month stay in a rehabilitation facility or needs to move into a nursing home, they may find that their Medicare coverage isn’t enough. Qualifying for Medicaid means meeting strict financial limitations regarding both the applicant’s income and assets.
The workers reviewing New York Medicaid applications will typically go back over years of financial records to establish whether someone qualifies for benefits and whether they are subject to a penalty because of recent transfers. Although almost everything you own can count against you when applying for Medicaid, your primary residence will not.
That generosity is conditional, however. The state of New York has a Medicaid recovery program that will make claims against your home after you die. Even if you want your family members to inherit your home, the state may place a lien on it and demand repayment for the care you received. Is your home ever safe from such efforts?
When is a home in your name safe from Medicaid claims?
There are only three scenarios when a valid Medicaid recovery claim against your estate won’t potentially lead to the sale of your home. Your spouse, minor child or disabled adult child can stay in the home until they die.
If you share ownership with a sibling and they have lived in the home for at least a year before you move into a nursing home or similar facility, they can defer the claim to the home until after their death. An adult child who lives in the home for at least two years before you move into a nursing home and provided you with care can also defer the estate recovery against the property until they move out or sell the property.
You can plan to avoid Medicaid recovery efforts
Planning long before you need Medicaid benefits can protect you from penalties when you apply and protect your loved ones from estate recovery efforts after your death. If your home isn’t in your name but already belongs to your family members when you apply for Medicaid, it likely won’t be at risk. The same may be true of a home that you have transferred into a trust.
Understanding when your home could be at risk and when it has protection can facilitate better Medicaid planning for those in New York with real estate.