BARRY PETERS: Medicaid Liens?

by | Aug 12, 2017 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

When a person can no longer take care of housing and feeding himself or herself, the federal Medicaid program insures that suitable housing and feeding are available.

But before the government steps in to bear the cost of that assistance, it requires that the person’s own resources must first be exhausted.  In other words, a person who has resources to pay for the cost of such care will be required to use those resources until they are used up.  Only then will the government step up to bear that cost.

But there are two main exceptions to this requirement.  They are that a person can retain one residence and one car, but still receive Medicaid assistance.  These exceptions are provided so that, if the condition turns out to be temporary, the person can return to his or her own home.

In exchange for allowing the retention of these assets, a lien is imposed against the house and car that are retained.  No payment on that lien is required as long as the person lives.  But once he or she has passed away, the heirs will be required to pay back to the Medicaid program the costs that were paid by the program during the last five years of the person’s life. 

If the value of the home and car are less than what was paid by Medicaid, then the state will end up with those assets (but the heirs will not be required to make up the difference).

But if the house and car are worth more than the amounts that were paid by the Medicaid program, the heirs will be allowed to retain the difference after Medicaid has been reimbursed the actual amounts paid out.


Author: Barry Peters. For additional easy-to-understand information on Wills, Trusts, and Probate, call attorney Barry Peters’ offices at (208) 939-2600 for your expedited appointment for a FREE OFFICE CONSULTATION or visit his Q & A pages at As always, your total satisfaction is guaranteed by Barry Peters, Attorney at Law, where all clients receive individual attention to the details of their unique circumstances.


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Daniel Patchin

Barry Peters