Medicaid is a program jointly funded by the federal and state governments to provide health care assistance for low-income individuals and families. In Florida, the elderly and individuals with disabilities often use the program to assist with their medical and long-term care expenses.
Can Medicaid take a beneficiary’s home upon death in Florida? Read on to find out.
Qualifying for Medicaid in Florida – Income & Asset Limits
To qualify for Medicaid, the applicant must meet certain income and asset limit criteria. The assets that count towards the limit include:
- Stocks, bonds, investments
- Credit union accounts
- Savings and checking accounts
- Real estate in which the applicant does not reside (e.g., vacation home)
Examples of exempt assets include personal possessions (e.g., collectibles), household furniture, vehicles, specific types of trusts, IRAs, and the applicant’s homestead.
To measure an applicant’s income, Medicaid will consider income from any source, such as employee wages, pension payments, IRA withdrawals, stock dividends, alimony payments, Social Security Income, and Social Security Disability Income.
Qualifying for Medicaid in Florida – Meeting the Eligibility Criteria
The eligibility criteria vary depending on whether the applicant is single or married. If a married individual is applying as one applicant, the program will not look at the value of the applicant’s home.
The non-applicant spouse can live in the home, and it will not affect the applicant spouse’s eligibility for Medicaid assistance. The only issue is if the non-Medicaid recipient dies before the benefit recipient, which requires an individual assessment from a legal advisor.
A single individual applying for Medicaid assistance with home care or assisted living facility must meet a home equity interest limit of up to $636,000 in 2022.
Unless the home is rented to generate income, the applicant’s homestead remains protected and will never be counted as an asset for Medicaid purposes. As long as the property meets the Homestead exemption requirements, it will not be exposed to risk.
Can Medicaid Take Your Home After Death in Florida? – Taking a Closer Look
In most cases, Medicaid will not affect a recipient’s home upon death in Florida. If a Medicaid recipient dies owning a property protected under Florida’s Homestead law, the home is inherited by the deceased’s surviving spouse or heirs.
As specified by the Florida Constitution, homestead property “shall be exempt from forced sale under process of any court, and no judgment, decree or execution shall be a lien thereon, except for:
- The payment of taxes and assessments thereon,
- Obligations contracted for the purchase, improvement, or repair thereof, or
- Obligations contracted for house, field or other labor performed on the realty (…)”
Please note that the recipient must pay attention to detail and not include language in his or her will instructing the home to be sold. Additionally, the property cannot be rented during the recipient’s lifetime.
Medicaid exemption is a complex subject that requires individual assistance. Consult with an expert Florida attorney to ensure your eligibility for Medicaid and protect your estate upon death.