Medi-Cal (California's Medicaid Program) is a means-tested program or also known as needs-based. Meaning, that there are certain income, asset/resource requirements to qualify to be eligible for Medi-Cal.
For Medi-Cal eligibility determination, a home is an exempt asset/resource; meaning it is not counted as a resource when a beneficiary or his/her spouse is on Medi-Cal under any of the following situations:
Is My Home Protected from Medi-Cal Recovery?
Even though a home is an exempt asset/resource for Medi-Cal eligibility requirements, it does not exclude the home from estate recovery. If the home is still in the Medi-Cal recipient’s name when he/she passes, the state has the right to make a claim against the home to recover Medi-Cal benefits that were paid out. This does not only apply to the home, it applies to any assets remaining in the Medi-Cal recipient’s name.
According to CANHR (California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform) and the Department of Health Care Services Estate Recovery Program, this is further explained as below:
“For individuals who pass before January 1, 2017, the old Medi-Cal Recovery laws will apply. If the home was still in the name of the Medi-Cal beneficiary at death, the State may make a claim against the estate of a beneficiary who was 55 years of age or older at the time he or she received Medi-Cal, or of any age, if the person received Medi-Cal in a nursing home, unless there is a surviving spouse, a minor child, or a blind or disabled child of any age.”
“For individuals who die on or after January 1, 2017, Medi-Cal Recovery claims have been severely restricted. The new recovery law:
Can I transfer My Home?
Under Federal law, and according to the Department of Health Care Services for the State of California the principal residence may be transferred to the following individuals at any time without affecting an individual’s Medi-Cal eligibility:
We strongly urge that individuals reach out to an attorney that specializes in Estate Planning for specific questions and the best course of action or an expert that specializes in public benefits. To find your local county department visit http://www.dhcs.ca.gov/services/medi-cal/Pages/CountyOffices.aspx.
DISCLAIMER: The information provided by CPT is for informational purposes only and is intended to be used as a non-legal guide prior to consultation with an attorney familiar with your specific legal situation. CPT is not engaged in the practice of law or in rendering legal advice or counsel. No such legal advice or counseling is either expressly or impliedly intended. This form is not a substitute for the advice or counsel of an attorney. If you require legal advice, you should seek the services of an attorney. © 2017 CPT All rights reserved.
William E. Lindahl, MBA, CLPF