Do Nursing Homes Take All Your Money?

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Jan Reburiano

Nursing homes don’t take all your money to pay for your care, but they do require payment for their services. Your loved one must use their money and assets to pay for nursing home costs, but the government won’t forcefully seize your possessions.

Nursing homes can use Medicaid to cover the difference, with Medicare covering your specialized care. However, your income and assets determine whether you’re eligible for government assistance. You may also use long-term care insurance to mitigate nursing home costs to cover daily expenses.

Watch out for misleading advice from caretakers and employees when paying for nursing home care. Financial abuse has run rampant in recent years, and any suspicion of such abuse should be investigated. Victims of nursing home financial abuse should consult with an abuse attorney for further options.

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What Happens to Your Savings When You Go Into a Nursing Home?

It’s illegal for the government to forcefully seize your savings when you go into a nursing home. They will only take as much as needed to cover costs for your care, but those costs may be steep. Nursing home care can reach up to $100,000 a year depending on your state, but there are ways to mitigate these costs effectively.

Depending on your situation, you can apply for government assistance like Medicare and Medicaid to cover the difference. You can also transfer your assets to your loved ones before death. Be careful though, as there’s a 60-month period where gifted assets are still yours. Transfer your assets before that period to protect them from harm.

Be careful who you transfer your assets to, and only transfer them to friends and family you trust. Manipulating wills and trusts is one form of financial abuse caretakers may use to hurt you or your loved one. If you suspect this is happening to your loved one, consult a nursing home abuse attorney right away.

Can a Nursing Home Take Your House?

A nursing home cannot forcefully take your house, but the government may put a lien on the house after your loved one dies to cover costs. You can avoid settling the lien by claiming that property as a primary residence. As long as your loved one, their spouse, or their child intends to live in the home, it’s protected.

You may claim your home as an exempted asset when applying for Medicaid. Its equity must be lower than the LTC home equity limit, which is subject to change every year by state.

Be wary of caretakers who claim that transferring house titles to them will protect your assets. This form of deception is financial abuse, and should be reported to your state’s Ombudsman to prevent further harm.

Other Exempt Assets

Medicaid also exempts other assets from your loved one’s maximum allowable value. Examples of exempted assets include:

  • One automobile
  • Jewelry ($100 max amount)
  • Necessary household appliances
  • Certain life insurance policies

Verify your exempt assets with an elder law attorney before determining how to plan your loved one’s estate. If your loved one faced financial abuse from caretakers stealing their assets, call a nursing home abuse attorney immediately. Your loved one’s assets have to be accounted for when applying for Medicaid.

Does a Nursing Home Take Your Pension and Social Security?

Your pension may be considered a non-exempt asset when applying for Medicaid to pay for nursing home fees. You must use all income sources to continue to stay in a nursing home, and Medicaid pays the difference. However, nursing homes cannot forcefully take your pension and Social Security to pay for costs.

If Medicaid pays for more than half of your nursing home fees, your SSI benefits may be limited to $30/month. Some recipients may not be entitled to SSI benefits at all. However, you may receive SSI benefits if you can prove the following:

  • You plan to stay in your nursing home for 90 days or less
  • You need SSI benefits to maintain your home when you’re discharged from the facility

Make sure to inspect the nursing home thoroughly before admitting yourself or your loved one. Consider their turnover rate or their contract before signing anything. Without 

How to Pay for Long-Term Nursing Home Care

The cost of nursing homes and assisted living facilities have skyrocketed over the last 25 years. Even though costs are rising, there are ways to pay for long-term care if proper preparations are met. Below are the following ways you can pay for nursing home care with government assistance or from insurance agencies.

Medicare and Medicaid

Using Medicare in conjunction with Medicaid is a popular way to pay for nursing home care for low-income households. If you qualify, Medicare pays for specialized care and services, while Medicaid pays for the actual fees to stay in a nursing home.

Qualifying for government assistance requires that you stay within strict income and asset parameters. A competent financial advisor or estate planner will help you stay within these parameters to qualify. Each state has different parameters, so contact a specialist who knows the laws in your state.

Long-Term Care Insurance

Long-term care insurance allows you to pay for an insurance policy that covers nursing home costs for you. The cost of the insurance policy depends on several different factors:

  • Your age when you apply
  • Maximum amounts a policy will cover per day
  • Max amount of days a policy will cover

The earlier you prepare for long-term care insurance, the cheaper your premiums will be. If you prepare soon, your insurance will cover a large amount of nursing home fees while you pay for the premium.

When to Fight Nursing Home Financial Abuse

Elderly nursing home residents have most likely built up savings, assets, and annuities over the course of their lives. Be careful of caretakers managing your loved one’s money without their consent, as that constitutes financial abuse.

They may try to trick your loved one into paying unnecessary fees or managing titles and estates without their permission. Be mindful of these tactics and avoid nursing homes that have a reputation for such offenses.

Find an Attorney to Fight For Your Loved One’s Rights

Nursing homes may not take all your money to pay for fees, but caretakers may take advantage of your loved one’s savings and assets. If you find yourself in that situation, there are ways to fight back.

Reporting the incident to your state’s Ombudsman or the local police will prevent further incidents from happening to others. Afterwards, your losses may be compensated for through expert legal representation.

Filing a claim is usually free-of-charge as most abuse attorneys work under contingency fees. They acquire a percentage from the settlement you already won, but if you lose, you pay nothing out-of-pocket.

Contact a nursing home abuse attorney through LegalASAP, as we have 500+ law firms scattered throughout the United States. You can contact us through this number: 888-927-3080 or fill out this short evaluation form below.

Jan Reburiano is a content writer and SEO specialist for law firms focusing on personal injury, disability, employment law, among other practices. He has written and edited numerous articles and created commercial spots for broadcasters that you can find in his LinkedIn. Jan currently lives in Los Angeles, California while writing for clients from around the United States.