Know the residency rules to use MassHealth for nursing home care

On Behalf of | Jan 22, 2024 | elder law

Massachusetts is known for its quality health care and generous programs for people who have limited income. For elderly people and those with illnesses or conditions that require nursing home care, MassHealth is invaluable. Not only can people get the care and attention they need, but they can retain various properties and assets.

Being admitted to a nursing home can seem to be an arduous process with a great deal of paperwork and concerns about how to pay for it. There are fundamental requirements to be approved for MassHealth for long-term care. With some justification, people tend to focus on the finances, but a basic rule is that the person needs to be a resident of the state.

It is important to note that just because a person did not live in Massachusetts for an extended amount of time does not mean they cannot establish residency in the state and use MassHealth for long-term care.

How is residency established for MassHealth eligibility?

In some instances, a person might live in Massachusetts while the relative – a parent, a grandparent, a sibling, a child – lives in another state. If the relative has a health issue or simply grows too old to live alone and they want to bring the person to Massachusetts for long-term care and use MassHealth, understanding how to establish residency is imperative.

Being a temporary resident of Massachusetts is not enough to get MassHealth for long-term care. For anyone who wants to receive MassHealth, they can do so if they establish residency. This is true whether they have an address or not, have entered the state seeking a job or with a job offer in hand. They will be considered residents of the state.

To prove residency, the person needs to declare they are a resident of the state and there is electronic data to verify it. Examples of documents that can be used to prove residency are the most recent mortgage payment on a home; a utility bill within the last 60 days; statements from a homeless shelter; school records; or a copy of a lease.

Providing the right information can speed the MassHealth process

Elder law and the process of getting long-term care might seem confusing. This can compound the challenges people face as they try to make sure their loved ones are properly taken care of and they get all the available benefits of programs like MassHealth without losing assets. A person moving to Massachusetts for long-term care needs to have a full grasp of the residency requirements before taking the other steps.

The elderly or infirm person who needs care and their family members who are trying to help them must be aware of what is required to get approved and be fully protected. Since this might be complicated, it is wise to have professional guidance with every step of the process.