We handle a lot of elder law cases, and we often have clients worry that "Medicaid will put a lien on my house/take my house/sell my house" in order to recoup amounts paid out by Medicaid for assistance with assisted living or nursing home services.
Here's the short answer: the Texas Medicaid Estate Recovery Program, or "MERP" IS NOT a lien program. The term, "Medicaid lien" doesn't apply in Texas. A claim under MERP is made against the estate of the deceased, not against any specific property, so your house will NOT have a lien placed against it. The MERP claim doesn't give MERP the right to foreclose on a particular asset, nor is there any power to force repayment from any specified asset. In fact, a lien is a "high priority" claim against a probate estate, but a MERP claim is a low priority claim.
Does this mean Mom and Dad can keep their house AND get Medicaid services? Depends (I know, I know - typical!). There are two tests for benefits: the assets test and the income test. The process is a bit complicated, which is why anybody seeking Medicaid benefits needs to discuss options with an attorney who practices in this area. Assisted care or nursing home social workers are a good resource, but they don't always have the latest information.
As always, the above is general legal information based on Texas law and is not legal advice. If you have a concern about benefits, we recommend you contact an attorney to discuss your particular case.