Apple Valley, CA asked in Elder Law for California

Q: Can wife qualify for Medicaid if husband's money is all going to residential care facility?

My mother had to put my father in a residential facility due to dementia and not being able to care for him. She is 86 and he is 84. Can she apply for Medicaid? She only gets $700 from Social security and has to pay rent,utilities and prescriptions.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
  • Elder Law Lawyer
  • Carlsbad, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Yes she certainly can.

Among the things to watch for is protecting her assets from "pay back" to Medi-Cal. If either or both spouses go into nursing home care, Medi-Cal will keep track of how much money they are spending and try to recover that money from the estate after they have both passed away. Your parents need to move their assets (especially their home) into a Trust of some sort to preserve it; if they already have a Trust then double check to make sure the deed to their real estate is in the name of the Trust.

Also, when asking for Medi-Cal help for nursing home care, ALWAYS indicate that your parents intend to return home, or else their home will become an asset that can be used to pay their bills.

Medi-Cal is a complicated system. If you want to make sure that our parents keep their assets for their heirs, you should speak to someone who knows the system.

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