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How Does Medicaid View an Asset That Is Shared With a Child?

  • March 14th, 2014
Q
I (50 years old) own one-half of a Florida condominium with my parents, who are residents of Illinois. I live in the condo full time and, up until this year, they were living here part time. This property is not income-producing. How does Medicaid view this asset? Will my parents be able to continue to utilize their income to pay 50 percent of the expenses and will my parents be required to liquidate the asset in order for my father to receive Medicaid benefits? I currently cannot afford to buy them out, so that would mean I would lose my home.
A

You will have to consult with an Illinois elder law attorney for a definitive answer, but here are the general rules. First, your parents’ share of the condominium would at first blush be considered a countable asset for purposes of determining their eligibility for benefits. However, on second look it may be disregarded as an inaccessible asset because it would be difficult or impossible for your parents to sell it without your cooperation.

Second, while Medicaid may or may not consider the condominium to be a countable asset, there are no allowances made for your parents to contribute to its upkeep. If both are receiving nursing home care or one passes away and the other moves to a nursing home, most of their income will have to go to the facility as their contribution. If one of your parents is still living at home, he or she will be entitled to some or all of their income, which may or may not be enough to continue to help you out.

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Evan Farr

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Third, you should check to see whether you own the condominium as joint tenants or as tenants in common. If the latter, it could be subject to claim for Medicaid reimbursement after your parents pass away. (For an explanation of the difference between the two forms of ownership, click here.)

Finally, it may make sense for your parents to transfer their half of the condo to you. However, doing so could make them ineligible for benefits for the following five years. There’s an exemption to this so-called “lookback” period if the recipient is disabled. If you are receiving SSI or SSDI, no penalty would apply to a transfer to you.

As you can see, this gets complicated. I strongly recommend that you or your parents consult with an Illinois elder law attorney.

For more on Medicaid's rules, click here


Last Modified: 03/14/2014

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