How Will Legislative Changes Affect Medicaid Estate Recovery in Michigan?

March 15th, 2012 by Sean Cox Law Resources

At Sean Cox Law, we help our clients in the greater Grand Rapids area, Kalamazoo and West Michigan communities navigate the complexities of medicaid, estate matters, and other legal issues that besiege veterans, the elderly or people with disabilities. In July, new legislation will affect how Michigan approaches estate recovery for Medicaid. If you’re unsure how this may affect you or your loved ones, contact us for a free initial consultation. In the mean time, here is a brief excerpt of the 100+ paged amendment. Notably, recovery as outlined in this document applies to those 55 & up, not just those receiving long-term care, and the grounds for undue hardship are not exceptionally well-defined.

The federal government requires Medicaid to recover money that it paid for services from the estates of Medicaid beneficiaries who have died. Medicaid will only recover the amount Medicaid paid for a beneficiary. This is estate recovery. The state will not seek recovery of certain Medicare cost-sharing benefits.

What is an estate?
An estate includes all property and assets that pass through probate court. Example: homes, cars, insurance money and bank accounts.

Who is subject to estate recovery?
Medicaid beneficiaries who are age 55 or older.

Are there exceptions to estate recovery?
The state may decide not to recover money if it creates an “Undue Hardship” or if any of the following people lawfully live in the beneficiary’s home

  • Beneficiary’s spouse
  •  Beneficiary’s child who is under the age of 21, blind, or permanently disabled.
  • Beneficiary’s sibling who has an equity interest in the home and was living in the home for at least 1 year immediately before the beneficiary’s death.
  • A survivor who: •• was living in the beneficiary’s home for at least 2 years immediately before the beneficiary went into a medical facility: and
  • provided care so the beneficiary could stay at home during that period.

What is an undue hardship? An undue hardship exists when:

  • The estate is the sole source of income for the survivors, such as a family farm or business; or
  • The estate is a home of modest value; or
  • A survivor would become or remain eligible for Medicaid if recovery occurred.

How does estate recovery work?
When a Medicaid beneficiary age 55 or older dies, the state sends an estate recovery notice to the estate representative or heirs. The estate recovery notice tells them:

  • the state plans to file a claim;
  • how much the state will claim;
  • how to apply for an undue hardship waiver.

If no exceptions apply, then the state will file a claim with the estate.

How to apply for an undue hardship waiver?
An Undue Hardship application must be completed. Applications are available from the following sources:

• online at

• by email at

• by sending a letter to 1500 Abbot Road, Suite 210, East Lansing, MI 48823. The completed application must be received no later than 60 days from the date of the estate recovery notice. Send copies of any documents the notice specified. The state will determine if a waiver is warranted.

President Announces Housing Relief for Servicemembers and Veterans

March 7th, 2012 by Sean Cox Law Resources

Earlier this month, President Obama announced a number of provisions to provide relief for veterans. On top of the historic settlement completed by the Federal government and 49 state Attorneys General last month, major servicers will be providing significant relief to thousands of servicemembers and veterans.

The legislative changes seek to make it easier for veterans to refinance via lower FHA fees, include additional funding for the VA Fund, and provide a range of remedies for vets who were either subject to mortgage abuse, foreclosure misconduct or unfair interest rates.

Under the agreement, they will:

  • conduct a review of every servicemember foreclosed upon since 2006 and provide any who were wrongly foreclosed upon with compensation equal to a minimum of lost equity, plus interest and $116,785;
  • refund to servicemembers money lost because they were wrongfully denied the opportunity to reduce their mortgage payments through lower interest rates;
  •  provide relief for servicemembers who are forced to sell their homes for less than the amount they owe on their mortgage due to a Permanent Change in Station;
  •  pay $10 million dollars into the Veterans Affairs fund that guarantees loans on favorable terms for veterans; and
  •  extend certain foreclosure protections afforded under the Servicemember Civil Relief Act to servicemembers serving in harm’s way.

To read the fact sheet, visit

If you or someone you love would like a free consultation about the potential impact of this legislation, Contact Us.

Featured Partners – Elizabeth Harrell from ‘A Place for Mom’, Plus An Online Community About Eldercare

March 6th, 2012 by Sean Cox Law Resources

During the course of our work in eldercare in West Michigan, Sean Cox Law has been fortunate to work with Elizabeth Harrell in the Grand Rapids branch of ‘A Place for Mom,’ which is a national organization dedicated to providing a free eldercare referral service. Eldercare Advisors like Elizabeth provide personal, professional assistance finding care options in Grand Rapids and surrounding areas that match your loved one’s needs and budget, including Alzheimers, Assisted Living, Home Care and Nursing Homes. To contact Elizabeth, please call 1-616-485-3365. For more information about the work of APFM, download this APFM_Fact_Sheet.

 Of additional interest to families coping with elder care challenges is an online discussion board hosted by ‘A Place for Mom Families.’ Here’s an excerpt about the community, with links to join.

With the busy schedules we tend to keep, it’s common to connect with others via the Internet, whether by email, a blog or in an online community. Since we are naturally social beings, it is satisfying to contribute to a discussion and receive direct responses from others. And, with an online community you can interact with others from the comfort of your home!

One such online community is A Place for Mom’s Family. The site was created to give families and caregivers an online space to connect, share and learn from each other. When you visit the site you’ll find several forums that were created to spark conversation. These forums or topics so to speak are jumping points for community members to begin communicating with each other.

Thousands families converge on such issues as strategies to simplify moving mom and dad, ways to finance elder care, coping with guilt, everyday care giving challenges and caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s disease. Families talk about music therapy, senior driving safety, benefits for Veterans, wandering, support groups and more. Families are connecting with each other, sharing their experiences and finding support.

You can join the conversation too! It is simple and free to join. Click here to join A Place for Mom’s Family. Once you are a member you can post a story, ask a question or just browse what other folks are writing.


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