Senior citizens have the legal right to protect their property from MassHealth, in the event of a long-term nursing-home stay.
In 2007, regulations were passed specifically allowing property to be sheltered -- if held in an irrevocable trust. Despite such rules, MassHealth recently began attacking trusts. Certain MassHealth applicants, with property held in trust, were being denied.
Fortunately, senior citizens fought back.
A significant win came last month, when an appeals court overturned a MassHealth denial of a trust-based application. The judge's opinion took effort to shoot down MassHealth's theories, and supported a senior citizen's application.
MassHealth claimed insignificant clauses in the senior's trust allowed her to access trust assets. (Note: To qualify under MassHealth rules, these trusts must prevent a senior from directly accessing trust assets). One of MassHealth's tactics claimed a senior's right to "substitute trust assets" (i.e., sell one home for another), could allow the senior to substitute a home for a favorite family photo. This would allow the senior to pilfer trust assets.