When a person received Medicaid (MassHelath) benefits, the state can try to recover any assistance  they have paid out  upon your death. This means  if you receive Medicaid assistance, when you die, the state can try and recover any money spent on your Medicaid from your estate.  MassHealth will place a lien on your property for payment they have made on your behalf during your entire lifetime. This is known as Estate Recovery.  Many people opt to have an attorney such as Attorney Tom R. Mullen of Quincy assist them in order to set up a trust, will, deal with probate, and set up a life estate in order to  protect them from Medicaid liens. The following issues below will create a lien on your property unless you are proactive:

Other Reasons for a Medicaid Lien

  1. Falsely Receiving Medicaid –If you falsely received Medicaid assistance, then the Commonwealth can and will obtain  a court order in order to place a lien on your property. You may even be indicted!  Medicaid is considered to have been incorrectly paid if you received benefits for which you were not actually eligible for. If the mistake was on the part of MassHealth however, they cannot place a lien on your property. If you have received Medicaid benefits because of a mistake on the part of the MassHealth, and they attempt to place a lien on your property, you should contact Attorney Tom Mullen.  If you receive a letter from the State Auditor concerning your MassHealth, call me right away.
  2. Personal Injury Settlement or Awards – In you receive any injury settlement or award after receiving Medicaid benefits, typically a personal injury award arising out of an auto accident, then MassHealth can and will place a lien on those funds .They will collect dollar for dollar what they have paid in medical expenses; but only for those arising out of the accident. This only applies if you are an adult when you receive the injury settlement. The Department of Social Services cannot recover money for a personal injury settlement from anyone who is under 21.
  3. Upon Being Institutionalized – If you are placed in a nursing home, , then  MassHealth will place a lien on  your home.  In the event that you do return home, the lien will become null and void. There are however, a number of very specific exceptions to the lien law, the most common being if you still have a spouse in the home.

Medicaid Planning

How can an attorney help to protect you and your love ones from a Medicaid lien? Two words…Medicaid planning. Attorney Tom  Mullen can help you to legally transfer all or a part of your estate and benefits to your beneficiaries or family members. Despite the Deficit Reduction Act which was passed by Congress in 2005, there are still various Medicaid planning methods which can be done with the aid of a Medicaid attorney. If you are in need of advice for Medicaid planning, give the law offices of Attorney Tom Mullen a call today at 617-770-1050.

Thomas R. Mullen
Thomas R. Mullen has been an attorney since 1977 and has devoted his practice exclusively to elderlaw since 1988. He is nationally recognized as one of the foremost experts on Medicaid planning. His additional Practice areas include estate planning and trusts for disabled people, as well as assisting attorneys with Medicaid lien allocations and the Medicare Secondary Payer Act. In the Spring 2013 issue of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) Journal, Attorney Thomas R. Mullen of Quincy, Mass. was described by the Academy’s Massachusetts past president and law professor William J.Brisk as being “a prominent and innovative elderlaw attorney.”