One of the more frequent questions we have received is “Can Medicaid take Mom’s house when she goes into a nursing home?” The answer is “No” in Mississippi, and a recent court case in North Carolina held likewise. Greenhaven Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center v. Foust involved the nursing home residents' right to retain their home as "homestead" property after entering a nursing home. This homestead character continues the protection of the home, after nursing home admission, from the claims of creditors, who might otherwise force sale during their lifetime. Among other benefits, that may also permit protection of the home under various Medicaid provisions. The oral argument in that case was scheduled for November 15, 2018, but the nursing home dropped its appeal on November 2, 2018.
Section 300.03 of the Mississippi Medicaid Eligibility Policy and Procedures Manual states that “home property in Mississippi” does not count as an asset of the nursing home resident or spouse when determining eligibility. Therefore, the house need not be sold to get Medicaid coverage. Also, the Mississippi Supreme Court held in Darby v. Stinson, 68 So.3d 702 (Miss. 2011) that property exempt under the state homestead exemption law (Section 85-3-21 of the Mississippi Code) is not part of the nursing home resident’s estate that is subject to recovery by Medicaid after his or her death.
Courtney Elder Law Associates will be happy to answer any questions you or your family members may have on this topic! Please don't hesitate to contact us at 601-987-3000 if we can assist you in any way.