In Pennsylvania, if you give your home to your children (or to someone else) and then apply for Medicaid coverage in a nursing home, you may be ineligible for Medicaid for a period of time. You are required to spend down your resources on your own care before applying for Medicaid, rather than give them away.
However, there is an important exception that allows you to give your home to your child in certain circumstances.
Generally, you can transfer your home to a child if that child (1) has lived with you in the home for at least two years before you entered a nursing home, and (2) has provided care to you during that period which permitted you to avoid going to a nursing home.
This exception applies only to children – not to grandchildren or other relatives.
Since the rules for proving that your child lived with you and provided the necessary level of care are complicated, it is important to consult with an elder law attorney before you take advantage of this rule.
There are other exceptions, too. For instance, you can generally avoid a Medicaid penalty if you transfer your interest in your home to:
- Your spouse.
- A child who is under age 21 or who is blind or disabled.
- A sibling who has lived in your home at least one year and has an ownership interest in your home.
Again, always consult with an elder law attorney to assist you with any of these options.