Posted on January 07, 2021
Under federal law, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) is required to recover the Medical Assistance (MA) costs from the estates of decedents who received MA benefits during life. The official name is the Medical Assistance Estate Recovery Program.
This only occurs after the MA recipient’s death, and the monies recovered are spent to assist in providing long-term care services to other Pennsylvania residents.
The Executor or Personal Representative of a decedent’s estate gives notice to DHS of the death and requests a statement of claim. The statement of claim will detail costs the recipient received that are subject to recovery. The statement must be sent by DHS within 45 days of receipt of notice letter or the claim is forfeited.
Any property or asset that are part of the decedent’s estate is subject to estate recovery. As the main asset for most people is the family home, DHS will look to recover its costs from the home if the home is included in the decedent’s probate estate.
This is where the concern about losing the home comes from. The home is deemed an excluded asset for Medicaid qualification but may be best described as a deferred asset.
DHS is only compensated up to the actual cost of care for the decedent. Any equity over that number will pass per the decedent’s will or through intestacy.
See also: What is Medicaid?, How Do I Qualify for Medicaid?, What Is the 5-Year Look-Back Period for Medicaid, Protecting Home From Medicaid - Add Children to the Deed? and What Happens If I Do Not Pay the Nursing Home?
A more detailed discussion on Medicaid can be found here: Demystifying Medicaid Planning
John Bartlett concentrates his practice on elder law, Medicaid planning, estate and trust planning, and estate administration.