Medicaid Recovery against Florida Homestead

Posted By on September 14, 2009

A client approached me the other day, concerned as to whether the Florida Medicaid Recovery Unit could recover monies paid by Medicaid on his behalf from his Homestead Florida real estate after his death. I assured him that in the vast majority of cases, such recovery is unlikely.

As a single person, if you qualify for Medicaid, you already have very little in the way of assets in the first place. However, you are able to own a home which you designate as your homestead property (Florida real estate that you designate as your main place of residence). Florida homestead property is not factored when determining eligibility for Medicaid (it is considered as a non-countable asset). So, you could own a half-million dollar home, or a home with $500,000 in equity, and still qualify for Medicaid.

Generally, Article X, Section 4 of the Florida Constitution protects your Florida homestead property from your creditors’ claims, whether you are alive or dead. In other words, if you rack up an unpaid credit card bill of $10,000.00 and suddenly die, and your only asset is your homestead property, the credit card company cannot assert a claim for payment against that homestead property. And neither can the Medicaid Recovery Unit, with one caveat. As applied in Florida, the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 limits your homestead property exemption to $500,000.00, where Medicaid is concerned. In other words, the Florida Medicaid Recovery Unit can only recover from the amount that exceeds $500,000.00 in equity in your Florida homestead property.

Given the current state of the housing market, it is unlikely that if you initially qualified for Medicaid (you did not have more than $500,000 in equity in your home) that your homestead property value will inflate rapidly to the point where the Medicaid Recovery Unit can claim against it – at least for the next couple of years. Still, you should consult an experienced Florida estate-planning and/or elder law attorney to ensure maximum financial protection for your loved ones upon your demise.

If you are interested in learning more about this topic, you can either post a comment to this blog, contact me by email, or call me at (954) 458-8655 and I will be happy to answer your questions. I offer a free initial consultation.


4 Responses to “Medicaid Recovery against Florida Homestead”

  1. Mattie Pride says:

    I have a question my mothers step mom left my mother her homestead primary home. When she passed the home was supposed to go to her. The stepmom died in the nursing after a number of years. Medicaid is saying she needs to sell the home to pay a portion of the outstanding balance of her medical bills while she was alive and in the nursing home. Does this fla. Constitutional law Article X Section 4 apply to this situation. According tax roll the value of the property is only $40,000. 00. Would the home equity have inflated after her death? Does the person the home is willed to have to sell the home and pay the deceased person outstanding Medicaid balance? Does the state Medicaid program have a right to file a claim on this homestead?

  2. Lorri says:

    well i am going thru the prossess right now with my mothers estate and medicaid is going after me but my moms home was homesteaded and the house values is less then what medicaid wants i been going thru this for 2 1/2 years with them and i am so sick of it. that we have illegaels getting medicaid and the people who suffer are americans

  3. Kelly says:

    We moved my m-i-l here … I know she can get medicaid when the time comes…my worry is them trying to recover from assets.

  4. David Nussbaum says:

    Hi Larry,
    I have a question my parents own a home in Boynton beach, and they …