Nursing home residents do not automatically have to sell their homes to qualify for Medicaid. In North Carolina, the home will not be considered a countable asset as long as he or she intends to return home, or the resident’s spouse or other dependent relatives live there.
For a single person, there is a limit on the value of the home’s equity of up to $536,000 (in 2015); if the home’s equity exceeds this amount then that excess is considered a countable asset. This limit on equity increases each year for inflation. The limit does not apply if the home is occupied by the applicant’s spouse or other dependent relative.
For purposes of establishing “intent to return” home, a statement of intent by or on behalf of the applicant is sufficient. It doesn’t matter that the applicant is unlikely ever to return home.
The “home” includes contiguous property to the residence. As a result, a farm with hundreds of acres can be considered the home and exempt from Medicaid provided the value of the home is less than the equity limit, or the spouse or other dependent relative lives there.
Generally the value of the home is determined by the property tax value, before exemptions.
Although the home is exempt for Medicaid qualification purposes, it might still be subject to estate recovery after the Medicaid recipient’s death. North Carolina does not pursue estate recovery if there is a surviving spouse, or if one of the other exceptions to estate recovery apply.