In the News - Why One Moline Family is Worried the State will take the Family House
In a recent post from WQAD, Katherine Bauer takes a glimpse into an elder law horror story that may result in hardships for many families in the state of Illinois. This past July, the Lindberg family contacted the news station in hopes of raising awareness to other elders who may be stuck in the same situation as Rachel Lindberg.
After signing up for Medicaid assistance to help her with in-home care services such as cleaning and errands, Rachel was notified by one of her caretakers that her home may be taken from her beneficiaries after her passing to compensate for the expenses incurred by Medicaid. This little-known process is a program known as Medicaid Estate Recovery and was a point not fully disclosed to Rachel when she signed up for her at-home assistance services with Medicaid.
Rachel claimed that she was never verbally told about this asterisk in her home care plan and that if it was noted in one of the brochures she was given from Medicaid “most people [don’t] read those brochures.” According to program director Brycie Wislon, however, Medicaid Estate Recovery is a point that is reviewed and agreed to in documentation by people new to the program. All too often it seems that many elders are unaware of this program in Medicaid because the program does not require consent or acknowledgement, according to a Moline elder law attorney.
Unfortunately for the Lindbergs, they are now facing the possibility of losing their mother’s home since her passing due to this Medicaid program. According to Rachel’s son Jeff, her home is not about the money but about the memories and since she has incurred $30-40,000 in care from Medicaid they may lose her home to this program to compensate the payoff of these debts.
The Lindbergs were thankfully able to find a loophole in the Medicaid Estate Recovery program that will allow them to keep their mother’s home. One exception to this Medicaid program is that a recipient’s home will not be taken to pay off debts if the recipient “is survived by a spouse, child under age 21, or blind or disabled child of any age.” Rachel’s daughter Michelle is legally blind, making the Lindbergs eligible for this exception.
Medicaid horror stories like these are all too common in the state of Illinois. Make sure that you and your senior loved ones are protected when considering taking advantage of the Medicaid program. Contact the elder law attorneys at Pankau Law to learn more about how we can protect your beneficiaries and your estate from government aid programs like Medicaid before you agree to receiving their benefits. Click here to schedule a free consultation!
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