Medicaid Estate Recovery

Authored By: Georgia Legal Services Program® LSC Funded
Read this in:
Spanish / Español

The following information is from the brochure, "Medicaid Estate Recovery," prepared by Georgia Legal Services Program.


If you think you may ever need Medicaid help with long-term care, consider carefully what to do with your home and other property.


If Medicaid pays for your long-term care, the state could have a claim against your estate later.

You may want your family to keep the home you have worked so hard for. However, if you someday need Medicaid for your long-term care, the Medicaid agency could have a claim against your estate for its costs. Georgia has a new program called “Estate Recovery.” An estate can include real and personal property like homes, land, vehicles, cash, CDs, stocks and bonds, as well as property help with a life estate interest.


Estate recover affects certain people:

  1. People who are 55 or older, and receive nursing home care or community services under Medicaid for at least 6 months, or 

  2. People who die at any age in a nursing home, ICF/MR or mental health facility when they received Medicaid and had to pay all their income except a personal needs amount for their care. 


There are some exceptions to Medicaid estate recovery.

The Medicaid agency will not collect from estates worth less than $25,000. It also will not try to collect while a spouse, dependent child under 21, or disabled child of any age is living. Heirs may petition for a hardship exemption in some cases.


Get legal help before you act. 

Be sure to get legal advice if you are thinking of doing something with your home or other property. An attorney who knows about this issue can help you decide what  is best for you.


Be careful…Giving away your home or other assets could keep you from getting Medicaid for long-term care.

If you need Medicaid later to pay for a nursing home or for community services in your home, the Medicaid agency will look to see if you have sold it for less than what it is worth. If you have given away your property before you need care, you could have to go without Medicaid for these services for a period of time. The Medicaid agency will decide your “penalty period.” It can last for an unlimited amount of time, depending on the value of the property.


Medicaid Estate Recovery Resources


General Information

Medicaid Agency:

Department of Community Health’s Estate Recovery Agent



Estate Recovery Rules:


Specific Advice


Find a lawyer:

State bar of Georgia



National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys


Georgia Legal Services Program may provide information on Medicaid eligibility. GLSP attorneys do not provide estate planning advice. Contact a private attorney.


Our PDF download files do not fully comply with all applicable guidelines for accessible digital documents.


Last Review and Update: Jul 14, 2015