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Am i entitled to any of my dads income when he is in a nursing home ?

Medway, MA |

i took care of my mom who had alzheimers, she passed away, and i cared for my dad, as it was hard for him to get around, he had many health problems. needless to say, i was out of the workforce for a long time. I'm back now but could only find a min. wage job. my dad had a stroke, and is in a nursing home, they take his social security and pension checks i was wondering if i was entitled to any of that - since i was out of work caring for him for a long while. it seems like everything is lost, and the nursing home just keeps getting his money, plus trying to get more from me which i don't have ! (we live in massachusetts ) i'm not sure if the laws are the same for every state.

Attorney Answers 5

  1. In general a child is not entitled to any of the income of a Nursing Home resident who is getting Medicaid (MassHealth) benefits. It seems unlikely that you would be able to get any income or assets of your father. But, there are some exceptions to the rules and it is possible that you could make some sort of claim for compensation, so you should see an Elder Law Attorney who could help you figure out if you have anything coming to you.

    DISCLAIMER This above comments by Attorney Adamsky, are provided for general informational purposes only, and do not constitute legal advice. These comments are general in nature and not specific legal advice, which requires more thorough knowledge of the situation and an agreement with the recipient to receive legal advice. Online posts and responses to questions only provide general insights on the general subject matter and are not specifically directed to the questioner’s legal need. Many answers and postings will not be accurate in all states, and are since most postings are not or cannot be updated to reflect changes in the law they may quickly become inaccurate and even completely wrong. Do not rely on older postings. No person should take action based on the information provided on or any other law-themed website without first consulting a local attorney with significant experience in your area of concern. No information presented by anyone online is confidential in nature, and no online reading or writing will create an attorney-client relationship between you and the attorney who answers the question. Attorney Adamsky is admitted to practice law in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Some online content constitutes attorney advertising, and as such is directed to consumers and potential clients for advertising purposes only.

  2. No, you are not entitled to his money, even if your provided care for your father. If you obtain guardianship over dad, then you can become his "representative payee" if you file the application with the Social Security Administration. But if you control his benefit, you will need to a) pay his bills and provide for his care; and b) account to the SSA at the end of the year. Your accounting cannot show that you've taken his money.

    The response to this post is not intended to provide specific legal advice or to create an attorney client relationship. Nor does our response to your post constitute solicitation for legal fees.

  3. You do need to see a lawyer to find out if there is something you should do that would help. The income is not going to come to you. But I am worried by the statement that "they are trying to get more from me." He is on Medicaid, isn't he? The rules are very complicated. Please talk to someone who understands them.

  4. Sorry to hear about the circumstances. Unfortunately, you most likely will not be able to receive any of your father's income. You could apply to do so under the MassHealth financial hardship provision. However, it is my understanding that almost no one has had success obtaining a favorable financial hardship decision. In order for you to be able to receive (some of) your father's income, you would have needed to have a written personal care agreement/contract in place before your father entered the nursing home. Such agreements/contracts are subject to heightened scrutiny by MassHealth. Does your father own a home? If so, you may be able to apply under the MassHealth caretaker child provision to have the home transferred to you. If your father has not already done so, he (through you as his agent under his durable power of attorney?) should apply for MassHealth. You do not have to use your own money to pay for your father's nursing home care. You should work with an elder law attorney to help you with the MassHealth application process.

    Legal Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on since each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. A lawyer experienced in the subject area and licensed to practice in the jurisdiction should be consulted for legal advice. Circular 230 Disclaimer: Any information in this answer may not be used to eliminate or reduce penalties by the IRS or any other governmental agency.

  5. Your question is important to many people who are currently providing care for parents and grandparents. A valid Caregiver Contract can provide a way for family members to be paid for the work they are currently doing for elders in their family. Unfortunately, Medicaid does not honor retroactive payments for work done in the past.

    You can help friends and family members by sharing your experience, and explaining to them how they can provide care in the future, and get paid for it, if they have a Caregiver Contract with the person they are working for.

    You can read more about Caregiver Contracts at


    Also, Medicaid has a program called Caregiver Homes, that pays children to take care of parents and other family members at home. And family members can also be reimbursed with money from the VA's Aid & Attendance pension program if a war time veteran or spouse needs care at home.

    The best way to find out about all the options in each specific case is to visit with an Elder Law Attorney.

    -John L. Roberts
    Certified Elder Law Attorney. VA Accredited Attorney
    Longmeadow, Massachusetts

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