Nursing Home Medicaid and Estate Recovery: Will They Take my House?

suburban house

This is one of the most common fears our clients have as they plan for the future and long-term care.

At a glance, the answer is easy: No, if you need Medicaid for nursing home care, Medicaid/the State/the Nursing Home does not take your home when you enter care.

Nursing Home (“NH”) Medicaid has financial limits that must be met for eligibility, but the value of an applicant or spouse’s  home – if less than $552,000 – will not be counted towards that limit. Note that this value limit is the rule in Georgia, but not necessarily in other states.

If an applicant meets the other financial requirements and has a home worth less than $552,000, then he or she can still be eligible for NH Medicaid without having to sell or give away the home.

However, when a NH Medicaid patient dies, the property in his/her name upon death is subject to Estate Recovery by Medicaid. This means the State seeks reimbursement from the patient’s estate based on how much it paid for the patient’s care. There are a number of exceptions to this rule, and notably, that recovery cannot occur until the patient’s spouse is also deceased.

Only that property titled in the name  of the patient at his/her death is subject to Estate Recovery. In some circumstances, this leaves options for pre-planning that can protect the family home for the patient’s family. As always, it is best to seek professional advice regarding available options when Medicaid is a possibility.

Image © pyzata –

This is not intended as legal advice.  This post and the information contained herein have been prepared for educational purposes only.  The information on this blog does not constitute legal advice, which would be dependent upon the specific circumstances of a particular case.  In addition, because the law can vary from state to state some information on this site may not be applicable to you.


About Sarah R. Watchko, Esq.

Sarah R. Watchko is an attorney practicing estate planning and elder law in Atlanta, Georgia


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