Question: Can we use Mom’s Medicaid funds from one state if we were to relocate her to a nursing home in a different state so that she would be closer to her children? Specifically, are Medicaid funds portable between states?
Answer: Unfortunately, your Mother cannot use the benefits she may be entitled to receive from State A to pay for her care in State B. Medicaid is a program that is jointly funded by the federal government and the individual states. Since the individual states pay a large portion of the Medicaid costs, one of the requirements to qualify for Medicaid is that you must be a resident of that State. State A has no interest in paying for the care of individuals in other States.
If you were asking whether your Mother could get qualified in her current State, and then transfer the eligibility to the State where her children live, the answer to that is also no. Medicaid is a state-run program which means that eligibility requirements vary from one state to the next. While the federal government sets minimum and maximum standards for the Medicaid program, there is a fairly wide range in between where each individual State can set its standards. That means your Mother may qualify in one State but not in another.
If you plan on moving your Mother to another State, I would recommend that you do that prior to applying for Medicaid. Your first step would be to contact and retain an experienced Elder Law Attorney in the State in which you intend to move your Mother. Initially the Attorney can advise you whether your Mother meets the eligibility requirements in that State. Assuming your Mother does qualify, then the Elder Law Attorney can help your Mother establish residency in the new State and apply for Medicaid coverage.
James C. Siebert, Attorney at Law
The Law Office of James C. Siebert & Associates
Arlington Heights, Illinois