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What happens to my home if I go on Medicaid?

The rules for Medicaid and homestead property in Florida have different rules depending on if you are single or married.

  • Married Couple:  With a married couple and one spouse applying for Medicaid, Medicaid does not look at the value for the home.  The at-home spouse (the "community spouse") can live in the home, no matter the value, and it will not effect the Medicaid applicant spouse. Further, the cost of the home may help the community spouse keep more income. We may be concerned if the spouse at home - the community spouse - were to predecease the Medicaid recipient, but that is another issue. 
  • Single Person: If the Medicaid applicant is single and needs Medicaid in the nursing home or assisted living facility, the applicant is allowed to own a home of up to $595,000 in value (2020). Even if the applicant never returns to the home, the homestead is protected and will never be made a countable asset for Medicaid purposes (unless rented!).  Upon the applicant's death, the homestead is protected from creditors, including the state of Florida, if it descends to your heirs at law (i.e., your family). We have more on Medicaid estate recovery here. Problems can occur though because all of your income goes to the nursing home as part of your patient's responsibility.  This means that your family will have to pay for the home's mortgage, upkeep, insurance, taxes, etc., as your assets have been depleted and your income goes to the nursing home!  Renting the home is possible but this removes the homestead protection, so that can be an issue as well.

We have more information on Florida Medicaid income and asset guidelines here.

If you want to learn more, please see the following:

 

D. Rep DeLoach III
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Estate Planning and Board Certified Elder Law Attorney