Medicaid Property Estate Liens: MERP or the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program
If you inherited a home in Texas, you could have a lien on the property from Medicaid, or MERP, the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program. If you find yourself in this situation, FIT Acquisitions can help make the process easy.
FIT Acquisitions has experience with MERP and has helped many people who have inherited homes that have a MERP claim attached.
What is MERP?
One thing that can complicate the sale of an inherited home in Texas is the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program, also known as MERP. This is a program by which the Medicaid agency in Texas attempts to be reimbursed for health care costs that were paid on behalf of a beneficiary of Medicaid. These costs often include nursing home fees, home care fees, and hospital fees. MERP attaches to someone’s estate after their death. While the person is still alive, his/her home is exempt from MERP, however upon his/her death the home that is now owned by the estate can be affected by MERP.
When does MERP apply?
MERP can be applied to those that were aged 55 or older at the time of their death and incurred long-term health care costs such as those mentioned above. Although it is rare, MERP can also be applied to the estates of those that died before the age of 55 if they were permanently institutionalized in a long-term care facility such as a nursing home.
There are a few situations in which MERP does not apply, and as a result Medicaid will not attempt recovery of an estate in those circumstances. While there are several the most common are if there is a surviving spouse or a surviving child under the age of 21.
How does MERP function in Texas?
In Texas it is the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) that handles MERP claims. If MERP applies to an estate, DADS will send a “Notice of Intent to File a Claim” within 30 days of MERP learning of the death of the person who the claim is for. MERP applies to the “estate” of the deceased person, which includes both real and personal property. Real property can include a home as well as other types of real estate.
It is possible to as MERP to waive the claim against the estate, but certain conditions must be met, and you must prove undue hardship. Circumstances that may qualify you for a hardship waiver include:
- The gross family income of the heir or heirs is below 300% of the poverty value and the property the MERP claim is attached to is a homestead.
- The claim would cause the heirs to lose at least 50% of their income.
- The claim would either make the heirs ineligible for currently received Medicaid benefits or cause them to be eligible for Medicaid benefits.
- “Other compelling reasons”, to be determined by DADS
Why not let the experts at FIT Acquisitions help you through this challenging time? At FIT Acquisitions, we are happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have about a property you have inherited with other heirs, under no obligation!