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LawTalk, Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 37855
Experience:  I have 30 years of legal and litigation experience, including representing clients before the U.S. Social Security Administration.
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My husband is currently in rehab. We live on SS only. He

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My husband is currently in rehab. We live on SS only. He has no secondary ins. We own our home, car, a small lot, have a burial plot, and we both have a small life ins. policy. Our home is in my husbands name but it is willed to me. What do we need to do to keep the home from taking what we own. He is considered medicaid pending at this time.

Good morning from southeast Georgia,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of you and your husband's situation, Peggy. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

The very first thing that needs to be done is that your husband needs to either transfer the title of the property into your name, or at least add you to the deed as a Joint Tenant with Right's of Survivorship. Even though he may well be applying for MediCaid very soon, the law completely allows him to deed the property to you, and still allows him to qualify for MediCaid.

Equally important is that if he predeceases you, if you are already a Joint Tenant, you do not have to spend thousands of dollars probating his will just to get title to the property---because with a joint tenancy, the property passes to you automatically on his death. This is very important to arrange so consider doing it very soon.

Medicaid allows a number of exemptions and based upon your statement of the facts, I see no reason that even with the home, he will immediately qualify for MediCaid---and you will be allowed to keep all of your things.

Under the Georgia MediCaid regulations, you may have the following assets and your husband will still qualify for MediCaid:

1. Your home and all adjoining land and all buildings on the property so long as the equity in the property you have does not exceed $525,000.
2. You may keep all of your household items including furniture, decorations, art, and appliances are excluded.
3. The two of you can have burial expenses prepaid up to can each have up to $10,000, which includes a prepaid funeral contract with a funeral home or funds designated for burial in a bank account. Likewise, burial plots for your husband and the immediate family are excluded as well as certain other items at the burial site.
4. You are allowed to keep one vehicle, regardless of value and whether or not it is in use.
Both yours, and his, personal items such as clothing and jewelry are excluded.
6. Finally, any retirement vehicles you have such as IRA's or 401K's are exempt as well, so long as they are paying you periodic payments.

The only thing I see that could be possibly problematic is the lot, if it is worth a lot of money and will make the value of the non exempted assets increase above $109,560. However, if the lot is earning monthly income, then it will be allowed. If the lot is not earning income, and is worth a lot of money, then you might consider selling it and using the money for things that are exempt.

Finally, as the spouse of the person applying for MediCaid for Nursing Home benefits, you may have $109,560 in assets of your own---including the home, a car, and the other exemptions that I mentioned.

So, based on the assets you say that you have, I see no reason that your husband cannot qualify for MediCaid right now and you will be able to keep everything that you have. The only thing that you will want to immediately do is have the house either transferred fully into your name, or have it transferred to you as a Joint Tenant with Rights of Survivorship so that you can avoid having to go to probate court, spend thousands and wait months just to have the house transferred to you through his will.

Please keep in mind that, even though you have already paid your deposit money over to JustAnswer, until you rate me highly for my service, I will not be paid for having assisted you with your questions.

If you have additional questions, you may of course reply back to me and I will be happy to continue to assist you further until your questions have been answered to your satisfaction.

I wish you the best in your future.


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I just wanted to ask if you are current on the information you supplied to me with the rights medicaid has as well as our rights?

Good morning Peggy,

Yes, I am current with MediCaid laws in Georgia. I would point out that there was a recent increase in the assets that you can keep in GA----the countable assets have increased to $115,920. Again, though, this is in addition to all the exempted assets you own such as the home and car, furnishings and jeweler.

Another benefit I did not mention has to do with social security income. You, as the community spouse, are allowed to keep up to $2,898 (effective this year) per month in income, and if your social security benefit is not enough to give you that amount, even though your husband is in a nursing home, the nursing home will give you the greater of all of your husband's social security benefit, or enough so that with your other income, you have at least the $2,898 allowed under GA law.

You may reply back to me using the Reply link and I will be happy to continue to assist you until I am able to address your concerns, to your satisfaction.

Please remember to rate my service to you when our communication is completed.

I wish you the best in 2013,


LawTalk and other Social Security Specialists are ready to help you

Hi Peggy,

It isn't necessary to open a new question to give me additional information. All you need to do is reply to me in this thread.

You wrote:

Our home is valued at fair market, $41,700.00 dollars, our lot is valued at $9500.00 dollars, burial on husband is $20,000.00 dollars, mine I have had to borrow against, it was $15,000 dollars. It has no value at the present time but will be sending that money back within a couple of weeks.
what do you suggest about this.

Under GA law, you will get to keep your home, and the extra lot. As your burial plan has no value now, it does not count. If your husband's burial plan is worth $20,000 and does not already include a plot worth at least $10,000, then you might want to borrow against that to get the value down---or use some of the money to buy a specific plot which will then be exempted. However, you can include his excess burial plan in your $115,920 of assets allowed by you to keep in addition to the exempt assets and so if you want, you will still be able to keep everything as it is, and he will still qualify for nursing home MediCaid.

Even if you send the money back for your burial plan, it won't matter, as the assets you own---given that you may have up to $115,920---don't reach the limit and you will be able to keep the entire burial plan in your name.

You may reply back to me using the Reply link and I will be happy to continue to assist you until I am able to address your concerns, to your satisfaction.

Please remember to rate my service to you so I can be compensated for the help I have given you.

I wish you and your husband well.


Thank you for your positive rating of my service, Peggy. It has been my pleasure to assist you and I hope than you will ask for me on JustAnswer should a future need ever arise. I am generally available at least 6 days a week, and often 7, and it would be my privilege to assist you again in the future.

I welcome you to request my assistance in any future legal questions you may have, by simply placing my name in the first sentence of your new question.

Thanks again.


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