Watch Your Language: Domicile

Orange City Iowa Estate Planning

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Domicile - the place a person calls "home" - can have a significant impact on Medicaid eligibility and what benefits are available to help with long-term care.

Domicile – the place a person calls “home” – can have a significant impact on Medicaid eligibility and what benefits are available to help with long-term care.

What is it?

As with all our Watch Your Language posts, we need to start by identifying what “domicile” means. Medicaid defines “domicile” as a person’s place of permanent residence. It’s the place that you come back to after a vacation or other temporary absence.

In the Medicaid context, the idea of temporary absence is key. Domicile is the place you call home. It’s not a hotel or hospital – or nursing home.

But it’s not just the permanency of the residence; it’s also the location of that residence that matters.

Where I Live Matters for Medicaid?

Geographically, Huizenga Law is situated in Iowa and is within spitting distance of three other states: South Dakota, Minnesota, and Nebraska. Each of these four states has different rules that affect whether or not a person is eligible for nursing home Medicaid. Depending on your specific situation, it might be easier to apply for Medicaid in South Dakota than it would be in Minnesota.

But you can’t be on South Dakota Medicaid if you don’t live in South Dakota.

The obvious solution might be to move into a nursing home in South Dakota, but you may have to meet domicile requirements – a showing that you have lived in South Dakota for at least 30 days, for example. And you may have to tell the state that you intend to stay there permanently.

That Doesn’t Sound so Bad…

It’s true; that might be easy to handle. But what if you own a house in Minnesota?

If you’re single, that house can be a non-countable resource if you intend to return there before your death.

To keep the Minnesota house noncountable, you’d have to sign a statement that you intend to return home to Minnesota. To get South Dakota Medicaid, you have to tell South Dakota that you do not intend to return home to Minnesota.

You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

Great. Now What?

This type of situation is where the advice of an elder law specialist like the team at Huizenga Law is critical. An elder law attorney helps navigate the choice of law issues (which state?) by developing plan options that take the different state’s rules into account.

If you want our help deciding where to receive the care you need and figuring out how to pay for that care, you can schedule an Initial Care Meeting by calling us at (712) 737-3885 today!

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