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Will Medicaid Take My House To Pay Back Benefits? –Medicaid Myths vs. Facts About Your Primary Residence

A big fear many older adults have, is that applying for Medicaid Long Term Care eligibility means risking their assets, especially their homes. 

This article will clear up a few myths, focus on how Medicaid deals with property, especially in Florida, and give you a clearer picture of the facts.

For a more comprehensive article on Medicaid Planning… click here.


Medicaid’s Claim on Your Home

The widespread myth that Medicaid will have a claim to snatch away your home when you enroll is simply not true and quite misleading.

This fear usually comes from not fully understanding Medicaid’s rules and the protections that state laws offer. 

It’s a sharp concern for those who see their home as more than just real estate property, but as a legacy for their children and grandchildren.

This false belief might come from seeing Medicaid lay claims onto other assets, which leads to fear that homes are just as vulnerable. 

But this is a big misinterpretation of Medicaid’s policies and the legal safeguards that are currently in place.


The Reality in Florida: Strong Homestead Protections

Florida’s Homestead laws act as a strong shield around homes against Medicaid claims. 

Getting familiar with these laws is key for anyone thinking about applying for Medicaid eligibility, as they offer a sense of security and peace of mind.


What Qualifies as a Homestead?

In Florida, not every house automatically qualifies as a Homestead.

A property is considered a Homestead if it’s your main living place and checks off certain boxes set by the state. 

This includes size limits (up to half an acre in a city or 160 acres outside a city) and primary rule is that you must actually live on the property. There’s also a Homestead equity limit of $713,000 as of January 2024, in the State of Florida.

This means that individuals applying for Medicaid Long-Term care benefits can own a home with equity up to this amount and still qualify for Medicaid. Equity is the market value of the home minus any debts secured by the home, such as mortgages or equity loans.

Please keep in mind that Medicaid eligibility involves a comprehensive assessment of an individual’s financial situation, including income, other assets, and the specific Medicaid program for which they are applying. The home equity limit is just one part of this larger assessment. Which is why consulting with an elder law professional is always the first step to take when it comes to Medicaid planning.


How Homestead Protection Works

Once your property is marked as a homestead, it’s safe from being sold off under state law, and this includes keeping it safe from Medicaid claims…

So as long as you or your family are living in the home, Medicaid can’t force its sale to pay back benefits.


Medicaid and Your Homestead After A Loved One’s Passing

A big question is what happens to the homestead after the homeowner passes away. 

Florida’s laws make sure that the protection doesn’t end with the homeowner’s life.


Probate and Inheritance

If you need to pass your property to your children, this might involve a legal process called probate. 

But even then, during probate, the homestead stays protected from Medicaid claims.

This ensures your property can be handed down to your children as you planned.


Exceptions and Considerations

It’s important to remember that there are exceptions and specific situations where Medicaid might have a claim, like for ex, if the property isn’t your main residence or if certain other legal conditions aren’t met… 

In this case, talking to an elder care legal expert is crucial to get a handle on these details.


Limitations as far as Personal Financial Advice

First off, Medicaid offices are set up to help with the application process and to give general info about the program…

But they’re not designed to offer personal financial advice. 

Medicaid staff understand eligibility requirements and can help with applying for Medicaid, but they’re not financial advisors or legal experts. 

They may not be able to give you the full picture on asset protection or long-term financial planning, which are super important for people trying to protect their hard-earned savings and assets while getting Medicaid eligibility..

Medicaid staff handle loads of cases and questions, which can sometimes lead to advice that doesn’t quite fit your unique situation. 

Getting personalized advice from an elder law professional who understands your financial situation is often more reliable and helpful in the long run.


The Need for Personal Legal Advice

This entire topics falls under the larger unbrella of Medicaid Planning which typically overlaps with estate planning and probate… 

This is where a deep conversation with an elder law attorney or a financial planner who specializes in Medicaid planning is super valuable. 

These professionals can give you advice fitting your financial situation, and guide you through the complex maze of Medicaid law, without the risk of inadvertently overstepping laws and guidelines.

I hope this was a helpful read for you!


If you or an aging loved one are considering assistance with caregiving in Kendall, FL, please contact the caring staff at Angel Home Care Services today. Call (305) 220-4544

A Trusted Home Care Agency in the Kendall, West Kendall, Kendall West, South Miami, West Miami, Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Doral, Cutler Bay, Sweetwater, Florida, and surrounding areas.

Claudio Alegre

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