Avoiding a Medi–Cal Estate Claim Against the Family Home
There is a common misconception that persons who are on Medi–Cal or applying for Medi–Cal cannot protect their homes from Medi–Cal estate claims. Or that Medi–Cal benefits will be terminated if they transfer the interest in their homes. This is not true.
It is true that, if you are 55 or over when you received Medi–Cal or any age if you received nursing facility benefits, the state will place a claim on your “estate,” if you leave assets (like your home) in your name when you die. However, not only are you permitted to transfer your interest in a home without affecting your Medi–Cal eligibility, but the Eligibility Worker – at the time of application – and the nursing home – if you go into a Medi–Cal certified nursing home – are also required to provide you and your representatives with specific notice of the circumstances under which you can transfer your home. This notice, which is a statutory notice and updated by the Department each year, is called DHCS Form 7077.
Any aged, blind or disabled person, at the time of application for Medi–Cal, is also required to be provided with a clear and simple statement, in writing, that explains the circumstances under which an interest in a home may be transferred for less than fair market value without affecting Medi–Cal eligibility. This is Form DHCS 7077A.
Medi–Cal estate claims are difficult to contest and few hardship requests are granted. However, if you take steps to protect your property while you are alive, you can avoid an estate claim. While it is not always wise to transfer your property outright, there are a number of options to explore to protect your home from an estate claim. Always consult an attorney with experience in Medi–Cal and the tax consequences of such transfers before you transfer any interest in your property.
For more information see CANHR’s web site information on Medi–Cal and estate recovery or call the CANHR office for more information.