Medicaid’s “Caregiver Child Exception”- Does My Parent Qualify to Transfer Their Home If I Take Care of Them?- Part 1

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold, NJ Medicaid Attorney

As a faithful son or daughter of a parent who is of ill health, you want to be able to be there for your parent when they need you the most, as they were once there for you.  It’s your way of giving back to your family that made you into the person you are.  If you are someone who lives with your parents and takes care of them as they decline in health, you may be in luck to help your loved one become possibly eligible for Medicaid quicker if there is a need in the future to send your parents to a nursing home.

As mentioned in my earlier blogs, normally, under Medicaid’s regulations, a transfer of assets is a gift when made below the fair market value of the asset. A gift results in a Medicaid application being assessed a penalty period of non-eligibility.  To have Medicaid pay for your parent’s stay at a nursing home, the parent’s total assets must be less than $2,000.  Often times, a parent has a house in his or her name, and it needs to be taken out of their name to qualify for Medicaid.  Or if the house is sold, or transferred out of their name into another’s with very little money given for the transfer, it is penalized if that is done within 5 years of the application for Medicaid.

But there is an exception that allows the house to be transferred below fair market value without it being considered an improper gift or transfer.  Under the applicable regulation, N.J.A.C. 10:71-4.10(d)(4), a parent’s interest in their home may go to a child of the parent needing Medicaid, if the child resided in the home for at least 2 years before the parent was placed in a nursing home facility AND he/she had provided care that permitted the individual to reside at home rather than at a nursing home.

What kind of care needs to be provided?  It must be beyond supportive activities and include taking care of everything essential to the health and safety of the parent.  So, for example, shopping for your parent and occasionally taking them for their doctor’s appointments will not be enough.  Examples that the regulation gives of activities that would need to be done includes supervising your parent’s medication, monitoring your parent’s nutrition, and insuring your parent’s safety.  I would also argue that to qualify, you need to take care of your parent’s basic needs, including bathing them, dressing them, feeding them, toileting them, and transporting them to their necessary doctor’s appointments.

There is a lot that needs to be proven here, and in our next blog, I will discuss a case where a daughter provided this care, but the court still found it not to be enough under the exception.

To discuss your NJ Medicaid Eligibility matter, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at  Please ask us about our video conferencing consultations if you are unable to come to our office.