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MERP Law

Medicaid Estate Recovery Program Texas

One downside of getting long-term Medicaid care is that the Texas Medicaid Estate Recovery Program (MERP) may file a claim to recover funds that were spent.  A MERP claim is often filed after the recipient of the Medicaid funds has passed away. Family members of the deceased are often shocked when they realize that they face the possibility of losing all their inheritance because of a MERP claim.

Families that face a MERP claim should hire an experienced Medicaid Planning lawyer to advise them on how to protect the family assets. You need a MERP Texas lawyer that is familiar with every aspect of Medicaid Planning and asset protection for this purpose.

Are You Likely To Face A MERP Claim?

Texas Medicaid Recovery

MERP’s purpose is to take money from the estates of deceased recipients and use those funds to support the Medicaid program. It exists because a significant number of Medicaid recipients are not necessarily poor and own assets that are valuable. But not everyone is eligible for the MERP process. For example, MERP can only make a claim for reimbursement from recipients that were 55 years or older at their time of death.

MERP can file a claim for services such as:

  • Prescription drugs
  • Waiver programs
  • Hospital stays
  • Nursing and long-term care facilities

What To Do When Facing A MERP Claim?

MERP Claim

MERP TexasWhen you are facing a MERP claim with the risk of losing everything, the proper step to take is to seek legal guidance. Your lawyer may be able to help you minimize the effects of the claim on your finances or estate.  The estate here means all real and personal property that legally have to go through probate.

Where MERP Does Not Apply

Texas MERP

MERP does not apply if the deceased is survived by a spouse or a child that is under 21 years of age. Other situations it does not apply include where:

  • The deceased is survived by a child with a disability such as blindness and so on
  • There is an unmarried adult child that has lived continuously in the Medicaid recipient’s homestead for not less than one year before the death of the recipient
  • The Medicaid recipient is survived by a child of any age that is visually impaired or blind and is totally disabled

Can MERP Waive The Claim?

Medicaid Estate Recovery Texas

You can ask MERP to waive the claim if there is a risk of you experiencing undue hardship. However, you can only get a waiver if:

  • The property involved is a homestead and the gross family income of heirs is below 300 percent of the federal poverty level
  • The heirs would lose their primary source of income or at least 50 percent of income
  • The property being claimed is responsible for 50 percent of their income
  • Claiming the property would lead the heirs to qualify for public or Medicaid benefits or would cause the heirs to lose eligibility for benefits they already receive

To ask for a waiver you have to complete the Application for Hardship Waiver. Talk to a Medicaid planning attorney to review your income and assets to see if you qualify for a waiver.