A person is allowed to own a home even while they are getting New York nursing home Medicaid, as long as they have a subjective intent to return to the home. However, Medicaid will place a lien on the home and will try to recover its costs when the home is sold or inherited.
A way to avoid lien recovery is to transfer or bequeath a home to a qualified relative. This way, there is no lien and no waiting period to get Medicaid. The following are the family members who qualify for this kind of property transfer:
- the spouse
- a child who is under 21 or disabled
- a brother or sister with an equity interest in the home who resided in the home one year prior to institutionalization
- a son or a daughter who resided in the home for two years and provided care so as to keep the Medicaid recipient from becoming institutionalized
The rules are often ambiguous about the meaning of “residing in the home” and “providing care.” Relatives that you might think don’t qualify may in fact qualify, and the other way around. This is why it is important to engage a New York Medicaid attorney before attempting this transfer, to make sure that the process is followed correctly and that the Medicaid application will not be denied and there is no lien on the property.