Is my mom responsible for her credit card bill when going on Medicaid and in nursing care?

Q: Is my mother responsible for a credit card bill when she will be put into a nursing home in a couple of days? Medicaid will be taking her small SS and retirement to pay for the home. She will have absolutely no money to pay for the credit card balance. She has absolutely no assets and the card is in her name only. Can she just inform the company and let the balance go?

A: Basically. Yes, if what you are saying is correct her money will be spent down to the level permitted in her personal care account at the nursing home, under Medicaid regulations. They can sue her but won’t collect because she is indigent and her personal care account is a protected asset. They can bring a claim against her estate when she dies but their claim would be behind, Medicaid, and others. It is likely that there will be no estate when she dies. If for some reason there is money remaining when she dies, Medicaid and other priority claims take their share, for example, for taxes, administrator fees, lawyer’s fees. I would inform the credit card company of the situation and send them any paperwork if they ask. If they keep pestering you, change your phone number. Sometimes, these big credit card companies just don’t get it and spend thousands of dollars pursuing claims against people who are penniless or who have even been dead for years.

If you feel like this issue relates to you, or a problem that you are experiencing, please contact me so that we can discuss your situation.