You do not have to sell your home in order to qualify for Medicaid coverage of nursing home care in Illinois; however the state can file a claim against your house after you die.
You can freely transfer your home to the following individuals without incurring a transfer penalty which will make you ineligible for Medicaid for a period of time. Those individuals are:
• Your spouse • A child who is under age 21 or who is blind or disabled • Into a trust for the sole benefit of a disabled individual under age 65 (even if the trust is for the benefit of the Medicaid applicant, under certain circumstances)
• A sibling who has lived in the home during the year preceding the applicant’s institutionalization and who already holds an equity interest in the home • A “caretaker child”, who is defined as a child of the applicant who lived in the house for at least two years prior to the applicant’s institutionalization and who during the period provided care that allowed the applicant to avoid a nursing home stay.
Medicaid can put a lien on your house for the amount of money spent on your care. If the property is sold while you are still living, you would have to satisfy the lien by paying back the state. The exception to this rule is the case where a spouse, a disabled or blind child, a child under age 21 or a sibling with an equity interest in the house is living there.
Contact your elder law attorney for more information.