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Countable Assets & Other Info


Medicaid imposes a period of ineligibility for nursing home benefits on individuals who transfer assets for less than fair market value (often referred to as FMV). Generally, the length of the penalty period is based on the amount below FMV of any assets transferred during the 60 months (called the look-back period) prior to applying for Medicaid. The penalty period starts on the date the applicant becomes eligible for Medicaid for care in nursing homes, Supportive Living facilities, and Community Care Program through the Illinois Department on Aging. Transfers from trusts may have a longer look-back period.  PM 07-02-20-b   Administrative Code

  • Bank accounts, certificates of deposit, stocks, bonds, and annuities
  • Equity in your home that exceeds a certain amount, adjusted annually
  • Land other than the home’s property
  • Cash value of life insurance that exceeds $1,500
  • More than one automobile
  • $6,000 of business assets
  • Payments on promissory notes, contract for deed, and loans given to others
  • Pool trusts set up after age 65
  • Improper asset transfers
  • Anything else you can exchange for cash, food, or shelter
  • Spouse’s cooperation is required for assets she owns singly

Amounts in excess of the these limits are included as countable assets.

  • Your home and property where you live or intend to return if you are in a nursing home, or is occupied by your spouse, or your siblings, or your minor child or disabled child of any age that is worth no more than a certain amount, adjusted annually.
  • Life Care Contract- If someone is supposed to get your house because they took care of you when you were sick, then the agreement must be in writing before you get sick.
  • Life Estate- The state puts a value on your care in your home by a caregiver you give your home to even if you give the home after you die. The state will lien your life estate for the value of your care and the caregiver will have to pay off the value when the caregiver sells the home.
  • All personal effects and household goods (not including collector’s items or antiques that have some value).
  • Automobile regardless of value for some programs if used for medical appointments or employment (value is limited to $4,650 for other programs). SNAP (formerly the Food Stamp program) currently exempts any vehicle whose equity value is less than $1,500 for persons aged 60 or older.
  • Funds in an irrevocable prepaid funeral or burial contract are exempt up to a certain amount (PM 07-02-08-c & WAG 07-02-08-c), except that any portion of a contract that clearly represents the purchase of burial space. However, the amount spent on funeral goods and services made within three-months of application for Medicaid are not exempt.
  • Life Insurance (or Certificate of Deposit designated as “burial fund”) owned by the claimant up to a $1,500 face or cash value is exempt. The claimant and spouse both can have exempted life insurance with a face value of $1,500 or less on each.
  • Term life insurance policies with no cash value, group policies provided by an employer or required for employment, policies on the life of an ineligible family member who is not the claimants responsible relative, and some policies on the life of the claimant owned by someone other than the claimant.
  • Gifts of clothing.
  • One wedding ring and one engagement ring.
  • Retroactive SSI or Social Security benefits for up to nine months after you receive them (including payments received in installments).
  • In Illinois, the first $25.00 of a client’s earned or unearned income, other than contributions from a spouse or other individual shall be exempt from consideration in determining initial or continued eligibility for assistance grant. A client is eligible for only one $25.00 exemption regardless of the types or sources of income.
  • $2,000.00 for a client and $3.000.00 for a client and one dependent residing together.
  • In Illinois, add $50.00 for each additional dependent residing in the same household.
  • Eligibility for AABD does not exist when non-exempt assets exceed the above disregard.

is the difference between your countable assets & monthly income and the amount allowed by the State. You may spend-down your assets and/or monthly income on allowable medical expenses to become eligible for assistance programs. See your county office of the Illinois Department of Human Services for more information.

For the Food Stamp program, is your net income after certain allowable expenses are deducted, such as SSI income or monthly medical expenses after $35 out-of-pocket costs are paid. See your county office of the Illinois Department of Human Services (formerly public aid) for more information.

The State has the legal right to recover the amount of financial assistance you receive through certain programs, such as AABD cash and medical assistance. Under certain circumstances, liens and estate claims can be made if you receive services under the Community Care Program. However, you will be notified and must sign an acknowledgement form of a possible lien or estate claim before you receive any benefits or services.

Means you must be and are able to prove that you are a U.S. citizen or eligible immigrant and live in Illinois to receive benefits.

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