Keeping Your House After Applying for Medicaid

a hand holding a paper home

Dear Tracy:

It looks like my grandfather will soon need skilled nursing. Our family has tried to help my grandmother keep him safe at home for as long as we can, but it’s becoming too dangerous for her to manage. He falls a lot and she is simply not able to help him get back on his feet.

We’ve been researching the costs of nursing homes in central Ohio, and it’s just not feasible for them financially. They live on a very fixed income. Their only real assets are their house and an older car my grandmother still drives. We’ve talked about applying for Medicaid to pay for Grandpa’s care, but we are worried they will take the house and leave my Grandma without a home.

What are the rules about Medicaid, nursing homes, income and assets in Ohio?


Dear Danielle:

It sounds like your family is in a tough spot. We hear similar stories from families in your position quite often. Fortunately, the Medicaid laws in Ohio are much more practical than they used to be. The legislature recognizes that leaving a spouse without a home solves one problem for a family but creates another one.


Applying for Medicaid for a senior? Here’s how to do it.


Top Facts About Medicaid in Ohio

Here are a few things you should know about Ohio Medicaid:

  • It will pay for a nursing home for an adult when it is considered to be “medically necessary.” This means the potential resident requires hands-on assistance with at least two of the activities of daily living: bathing, dressing, eating, grooming, transferring, toileting, and taking medication.
  • Your grandmother will be allowed to keep her car and her home, provided she or a dependent family member still lives in the home.
  • Your grandmother will also be able to keep some of the income and assets they share. How it works is that the state of Ohio assumes half of the assets your grandparents had at the time of your grandfather’s admission to a nursing home (referred to as the “Community Spouse Resources Allowance” or CSRA) belong to your grandmother and half to your grandfather, subject to a limit that changes annually. In 2022, that limit is a minimum of $27,480 and a maximum of $137,400.
  • Your grandmother may also be able to keep part of their monthly income if her own income is less than $3,435 per month (2022 rate).  
  • When you apply for Medicaid, Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services will tell you just how much your grandmother will be able to keep.

If your income is too high, a Qualified Income Trust is an option. See our article for more information.

Hopefully this puts your mind at ease about your grandmother so you can focus on getting your grandfather the care he needs! Please feel free to give me a call at (614) 875-7700 if you have any other questions!