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Can Medicaid Make Me Pay for My Late Mother's Outstanding Nursing Home Bill?

  • April 22nd, 2016
My mother died in a nursing home in 2015 while receiving Medicaid.  Because she had gifted money in 2011, she had to wait out a penalty period before becoming eligible for Medicaid.  She owned nothing at her death.  I have an old will but I haven't shared it with anyone because I didn't think I had to due to her having nothing to pass on. The state contacted me with a bill for her nursing home care.  Can they make me pay the bill? We live in New Jersey.

We cannot comment on New Jersey law in particular, but you can probably simply explain to the state that there’s nothing in your mother’s estate. The state does have the right to recover from your mother’s estate whatever it has paid for her care under the Medicaid program. However, that claim is only for what your mother may have owned. The claim is not against you and your siblings. But to be certain of this answer, you would need to consult with a New Jersey elder law attorney.

For more on Medicaid's power to recoup benefits paid, click here.

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Last Modified: 04/22/2016

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