Medicaid Letters: Medicaid Recovery from Estates

Can DSS recover Medicaid paid on my behalf from my estate?

    Yes, DSS can recover from your estate for medical assistance paid on your behalf prior to your death. DSS can recover Medicaid incorrectly paid to you, as well as medicaid correctly paid in some cases.

When can DSS recover Medicaid incorrectly paid to me?

    DSS can recover from your estate when it has a court judgment saying that Medicaid was incorrectly paid to you in the past.

What is Medicaid “incorrectly paid?”

    Medicaid “incorrectly paid” is any Medicaid you received that you were not eligible to receive (i.e., an overpayment). If the Medicaid overpayment happened because of something you did (such as intentionally not telling DSS that you were working), DSS can recover this Medicaid overpayment from your estate. But if the Medicaid overpayment happened because of a mistake that DSS made, then DSS may not be able to recover the overpayment. If this happens, call our office.

Can DSS recover from my estate for Medicaid correctly paid to me?

    DSS can only recover from your estate if you were 55 years of age or older when you received Medicaid. Also, if you are survived by your spouse, or your child who is either under 21 years, old, blind, or disabled, DSS cannot recover from your estate until your surviving spouse dies and you have no minor, blind or disabled children left.

Can DSS recover even if I do not have a will?

    Yes, DSS can still recover from your estate even if you die without a will.

What if recovery from my estate will cause a hardship?

    DSS may not be able to recover Medicaid from your estate if doing so will cause “undue hardship.” This kind of hardship might exist if your estate is only one farm or business and this is the only income your surviving family gets. Also, if your estate is just your home and the home is of “modest” value, this might be a hardship.

Can DSS force my family to sell my home after I become deceased?

    Generally, yes. However, even after your death, DSS cannot recover on a lien placed on your home as long as:

1. your spouse or your child who is under 21, blind, or disabled lives there; or

2. your brother or sister lives there and has been living there for more than one year before you entered a medical facility; or

3. your adult, non-disabled child lives there and this child lived in your home for two years before you entered a medical facility and provided care for you which allowed you to live at home rather than in an institution.


45 Main Street
Batavia, NY 14020

(Tel) 585.343.5450

(Fax) 585.343.5503

Serving Orleans, Genesee
and Wyoming Counties


Administrative Offices
237 Main Street, Ste. 400
Buffalo, NY 14203

(Tel) 716.847.0650
(Fax) 716.847.0227
(TDD) 716.847.1322

Serving Erie County


225 Old Falls Street
3rd Floor
Niagara Falls, NY 14302

(Tel) 716.284.8831
(Fax) 716.284.8040

Serving Niagara County

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