What Happens to Your House When You Apply for Florida Medicaid Long-Term Care Benefits?
Many times the first question that I hear when the conversation turns to applying for FL Medicaid long-term care benefits is “Am I going to lose my house if I apply for Medicaid?” Fortunately, much to everyone’s relief, the answer is usually “No”.
An applicant for FL Medicaid long-term care benefits has to satisfy requirements regarding 1) the level of care needed, 2) income limits and 3) asset limits. For the asset limit test, the current asset limit for an individual applicant is $2,000 and the current asset limit for the spouse of a married applicant (the community spouse who does not need Medicaid and will be continuing to reside in the community) is $115,920.
People hear about these asset limits and start to worry about their homes. However, these asset limits do not include any asset that is considered to be an exempt asset under the FL Medicaid rules. One of the assets that is considered an exempt asset under the FL Medicaid rules is the applicant’s primary residence (their homestead).
Think of exempt assets as going into a Medicaid protective box. Whatever the Medicaid rules allow to be in the protective box is an asset that can be kept in addition to the individual $2,000 asset limit or the community spouse $115,920 asset limit.
Although the house, as homestead, is most of the time eligible for the protective box, the next challenge becomes getting enough additional assets in the Medicaid protective box to pay the ongoing bills associated with the house such as the mortgage, utilities or property taxes. Fortunately, there are additional Medicaid rules that can be used to put additional exempt assets into the protective box to help pay these expenses and save the homestead.