Ask Terry Questions Mom moving in — will it impact Medicaid benefits?

Mom moving in — will it impact Medicaid benefits?

By Terry Savage on April 20, 2013 | Financial Planning / Retirement

My mother in law 65 y/o currently lives with her husband in a house they own. She receives retirement benefits as well as medicaid and medicare. My husband and I are planning on purchasing a home and she would move in with us (her name will be on the deed as well) My question is; will this move affect her benefits? If so which ones? How can we avoid her losing her benefits specifically medical coverage. thanks

SAVAGE SAYS: Why would you consider putting your mother’s name on the deed Are you using some of her money?

I’m thinking that she might be on Medicare, but probably not on Medicaid, if she has her name on the title of her current home. (Medicaid is for the nearly impoverished, and provides healthcare and custodial care for those who have very little in the way of assets.)

There is no limit to the assets she can have and be on Medicare. But if she has significant income, her monthly Medicare premium might be higher than for most seniors. And she should have a Medicare supplement and Part D (or a Medicare Advantage total package) to cover her healthcare costs.

And moving in with you should not impact her Social Security benefits or any other retirement benefits — unless she is divorcing her husband, and getting benefits on his record (in which case you should talk to Social Security about what she is entitled to receive.)? By the way, I am purposely not asking what is going to happen to “her husband”!

OK, so let’s get back to the issue of whether it is “smart” to put her name on your home. For this you need an elder attorney, but here are some of the issues. If she does need custodial care in a nursing facility, it would be better if she did not have an asset like a home. They can come after you for “her share” of the home ownership if she needs to use Medicaid to provide custodial care. And, depending on how you title your home, there could be some estate tax implications — her share might have to go through probate, tying up title to the home. And, God forbid, what happens if YOU and your husband separate???

It sounds like there is a lot going on here. If SHE needs an attorney, who specializes in these issues, go to (national assoc of elder law attorneys). They will represent her, not you. First, you might want to consult your own attorney about the implications of having your mother on the title to your home.

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