If your parent is a widower and needs long-term care but can't afford it, they may consider applying for Medicaid. What happens if they own a home worth roughly $220,000, receive Social Security income monthly, with their only other asset the family's household goods (worth about $100,000)? How is this calculated for Medicaid assets and program eligibility?
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 they want to stay at home (as almost all seniors do), they be able to keep the house and qualify for Medicaid. If they will be moving into a facility, however, more information would be needed to answer the question. Unlike many states, the Virginia Medicaid program will exempt the primary residence for a mere six months before the home would need to be listed for sale at fair market value to maintain eligibility for Virginia Medicaid services.
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, despite the value of the household goods at nearly $100,000, these assets would not exclude eligibility for Medicaid.
Assume however, that the non-countable assets were marketable, that is, they could be sold. Converting non-countable assets for money has consequences. These consequences include spending the cash down on the parent’s care, a penalty period imposed by Medicaid, or even denial from the program.
It is always a good idea to first speak with an experienced Medicaid and elder law attorney to review your specific situation before you try to navigate this complex bureaucracy alone. We can help with that; just call for a consultation at 757.259.0707 or ‘request a consultation’ online.
Reference: nj.com (November 22, 2017) “What happens to your house with Medicaid?”