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If I Go Into a Nursing Home, Will Medicaid Put a Lien on My House?

No. This common misconception fuels a lot of mistaken decisions by persons who require assisted living or skilled nursing home care. Simply entering a nursing home does not allow Medicaid (the DPW/Commonwealth of PA) to place a lien on your home. Nor does the application for Medicaid automatically trigger the placing of a lien of any sort on your residence. Neither can the nursing home itself “take your home.”

However, the cost of nursing home care often requires persons to apply for Medicaid after some time, and once a person qualifies for Medicaid, he or she generally must pay all income to the nursing home. The result is that a single person's home must often be sold after entry to a nursing home because the owner does not have the ability to pay utilities, insurance, and taxes. If there is a spouse at home, that spouse should be able to safely and comfortably live at home without interruption.

Proper planning in advance by an elder law attorney can allow the family home to be preserved for future generations, if that is desired, and thus early planning is key to protecting assets such as real estate. Contacting a knowledgeable elder law attorney today increases the likelihood that your house can be protected regardless of future nursing home care.

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