Can a single applicant for nursing home Medicaid own a home in a different state other than the state in which they are applying?
No, generally speaking, a single nursing home Medicaid applicant cannot own a home in a different state than the state in which he / she is applying for benefits. This is because the house will most likely be counted towards Medicaid’s asset limit since it is not in the same state in which he / she is a Medicaid applicant.
Medicaid has an asset limit for long-term care Medicaid, which generally is $2,000. (There is some variance on asset limits based on the state in which one resides. To see the asset limit in a specific state, click here.) In most cases, a Medicaid applicant’s primary home is not counted towards Medicaid’s asset limit. For the home to be exempt, single applicants’ equity interest in the home must be under a specified value, with the exception of California which has no limit. (State specific information on equity interest value limits can be found here). Single applicants that don’t live in the home must have an “intent” to return home in the event his / her condition approves to the extent it is possible. This “intent” to return home is where it gets complicated, and why for the most part, a nursing home Medicaid applicant’s home must be in the same state in which he / she is applying for Medicaid for it to be exempt.
In order for one to be eligible for Medicaid in any given state, he / she must be a resident of that state, meaning he / she intends to remain living in that state indefinitely. Therefore, the applicant cannot express both an “intent” to return to their home in another state and declare residency in another state. This is why the home is generally not exempt from Medicaid’s asset limit when an individual moves from their home in one state to a nursing home in another state and then applies for Medicaid.
All that being said, some states may not strictly adhere to the above rule and may allow a home in another state to be exempt. This, however, should be considered far from the norm, and one should expect a home in another state to be counted towards Medicaid’s asset limit in the state in which he / she is applying for Medicaid. If you or a loved one are in this situation of having a home in one state and applying for nursing home Medicaid in another state, it is highly recommended that you seek the counsel of a professional Medicaid planner.