Your mom can continue to live in the home without worrying that Medicaid will take, or attempt to take, her home. Although Medicaid does consider the assets of a non-applicant spouse and an applicant spouse to be jointly owned, Medicaid allows for many exemptions. This means that Medicaid does not count certain assets towards Medicaid’s asset limit. One’s primary home is one such exemption under specific circumstances. Your mom continuing to live in the home is one such example in which the home is not counted towards the asset limit.
Having said this, it is important to mention that Medicaid has an “estate recovery program”, which is applicable in all 50 states. Basically, Medicaid seeks reimbursement for the payments they have made for long-term care following the death of the Medicaid recipient. Let’s say that your dad passes away before your mom, Medicaid will not try to collect reimbursement as long as your mom is still alive. However, in some states, Medicaid will attempt reimbursement after the death of the surviving spouse, which in this example, would be your mom. This means, based on the state in which your mom lives, the state may attempt to collect payment for reimbursement following her death, and often, the home is the biggest asset still owned. Learn more about Medicaid estate recovery and when Medicaid can and cannot take one’s home here.