Before you can qualify for Medicaid benefits that pay for the long-term care for you or a loved one, you have to qualify by meeting certain restrictions. One of the most difficult to meet restrictions is the asset restriction. In Texas - and in Abilene where I practice - the limit for single individuals is $2,000.
Often, when I am first consulting with potential clients regarding the process of qualifying for Medicaid, I am told that the family is considering selling certain assets to help to pay for the cost of long-term care and/or to help qualify. While the sale of assets is often necessary to ensure that a loved one can qualify for Medicaid, there are certain types of assets that you not sell under most circumstances, if you can avoid it, because those assets are considered to be "non-countable" toward the asset limit.
Three common assets that are considered to be non-countable are:
A home, if your loved one intends to return to the home,
A single vehicle, and
Pre-paid funeral expenses and plans, as long as they are non-refundable.
"Intent to return home" is established by filling out a form that indicates that the owner of the house intends to return home if it becomes possible to do so in the future. It does not require a realistic expectation that it will be possible to do so from a medical standpoint, only that the owner intends to do so should the opportunity present itself.
As a general rule, it is not necessary to sell any assets that meet the description given above in order to qualify for Medicaid. Indeed, selling a home and/or giving away or selling a vehicle can make things more difficult when it comes to qualifying.
As always, if you have questions about the process of getting set up for Medicaid assistance, you should consult with a qualified attorney who practices in that area.