Georgia Nursing Home Medicaid: Understanding Medicaid Estate Recovery

 

Many families fear Medicaid estate recovery. Almost every day, we hear from a concerned family member that knows their loved one needs Medicaid, but they are afraid that, “Medicaid will come after our house.”

What is Medicaid Estate Recovery?

After a Medicaid beneficiary who received support for long-term services and support, either through institutional care or through home and community based services, dies, the state is required to ask for reimbursement for any funds spent on that beneficiary’s behalf while they were alive. In other words, the federal government requires each state to recover the money it spent from the estates of all deceased Medicaid beneficiaries.

After a Medicaid beneficiary’s death, the state will ask the administrator of the estate or the next of kin to provide information on the value of the Medicaid beneficiary’s estate. If the value of the estate is over $25,000, Medicaid will request to be paid back or even place a lien on property owned by the deceased beneficiary. Heirs will only receive their inheritance after Medicaid is reimbursed.

Are there any exceptions?

There are limits on Georgia’s right to recover money from a beneficiary’s estate. Medicaid estate recovery will not be sought:

  • until after the death of the surviving spouse;
  • if the beneficiary has a child (under age 21 or is blind or permanently disabled); and
  • if the estate is worth less than $25,000

Furthermore, a bill passed in 2018 (SB 370) protects the first $25,000 in assets from Medicaid Estate Recovery. You can read more about this bill here: Georgia’s Medicaid Changes in 2018

How can I avoid Medicaid Estate Recovery?

There are always options for avoiding the Medicaid Estate Recovery, but doing so requires proactive decisions. The rules are tricky, so be sure to consult with a knowledgeable, experienced Elder Law Attorney.

If you or someone you know has questions about how these rules could work for them, please call our office for a complimentary consultation at (404) 843-0121 or via email