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Reverse mortgage and eligibility for MassHealth

I'm trying do a bit of "self-help" Medicaid planning and one of the things I'm considering is a reverse mortgage. I was wondering how a reverse mortgage might impact my planning and whether, specifically, the proceeds might make it difficult for me to qualify for MassHealth. Thank you.

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Well . . . . as you may know from reading other posts in our Massachusetts Elder Law Discussion Forum, I am not a big fan of "do-it-yourself" estate or Medicaid planning.  There are simply way too many traps to stumble into.  However, I don't mind pointing you in the direction of Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 19A, Section 36, which states:


All proceeds from reverse mortgage loans held by or available to persons sixty years of age or older shall not be taken into consideration in determining eligibility or continuing eligibility for, or the amount of payment from, any medical or other public assistance program or any state or federal low interest loan or grant, unless such proceeds have become countable resources.


Hope that helps.  Good luck.


I concur with the Editor's comments regarding "self-help".

There isn't enough information to answer the question fully. However, I can offer that if you are an elder planning to apply for MassHealth, the reverse mortgage would erode the value of one of the few "non-countable" assets that won't stand in the way of eligibility (assuming it is valued at less that $750,000). There may be circumstances where the reverse mortgage is needed to make necessary repairs to the home or to keep the elder in the community as long as possible, neither of which expenditures would be disqualifying. Otherwise, I think I'd need more information about the overall plan and circumstances to advise on the wisdom of the planned loan.

Christine J. Benway
Attorney at Law

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