“Before you apply for Medicaid, understand what will happen to your house.”
If your father is a widower and needs long-term care but he but can't afford it, he may consider applying for Medicaid. Therefore, what happens if he owns a home worth roughly $220,000 and only gets Social Security, with his only other asset his late wife’s jewelry (worth about $100,000)? How is this calculated for Medicaid assets and program eligibility?
More bluntly, nj.com’s recent article asks “What happens to your house with Medicaid?”
As it turns out, the answer is based on whether the parent will be staying at home or moving into a facility for long term care services.
If he wants to stay at home, he should be able to keep the house and qualify for Medicaid. However, if he is going to move into a facility, more information would be needed to answer the question. The Medicaid program typically allows one primary residence, but there are exceptions. In most instances, the care facility would be his primary residence. As a result, his home would have to be sold and funds spent down.
Any personal items like clothing, furniture, and jewelry are typically a "non-countable asset.” In most cases, they wouldn’t be used to determine Medicaid eligibility. In this example, with the jewelry worth nearly $100,000, there may be exceptions to valuable jewelry under Medicaid rules based on the state where he resides.
Assume that the jewelry was appraised with a record of the value, and he wanted to sell it. In New Jersey, the Medicaid application doesn’t ask that an applicant disclose jewelry or its value. But the Medicaid application does require disclosing cash on hand. Therefore, if the jewelry is sold or transferred for less than the value, there could be consequences. These include spending the cash down on the parent’s care, a penalty period imposed by Medicaid, or even denial from the program.
Speak with an experienced Medicaid and elder law attorney to review your specific situation.
Reference: nj.com (November 22, 2017) “What happens to your house with Medicaid?”