Claims During Probate: Medicaid Estate Recovery Program (MERP)

During probate, the executor or heirs often must certify whether the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program (MERP) has a claim against the decedent’s estate.  MERP stems from Federal law.  MERP requires States to submit claims against the estate of dededents who received “covered long-term care” for persons age 55 or older paid for by Medicaid.  A few examples of covered long-term care include the following:

  1. Nursing facility services;
  2. Community Living Assistance and support services;
  3. Home and Community-based services; or,
  4. Hospital and prescription drug services received while on the above programs.

Exceptions exist where a MERP claim will not be filed against the estate.  Two examples of exceptions follow:

  1. There is a surviving spouse; or,
  2. There is a surviving child or children under age 21.

In Texas, MERP is administered by the Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS).  DADS publishes a form that can be sent to its MERP contractor to obtain certification of whether or not a claim exists.  Even if the family is “certain” that no covered long-term care was paid for by Medicaid, obtaining certification is a prudent step during probate.  Click here to get a copy of the MERP certification form from DADS’ website.

Author Jim Cramp is the founder and principal attorney at the Cramp Law Firm.  The Cramp Law Firm provides a
spectrum of family-related legal services in the greater San Antonio Region.