Lynne A. Valenti
Cabinet Secretary

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June 12, 2013

SD Supreme Court Sides with Medicaid Decision

PIERRE,S.D. –Late last week the South Dakota Supreme Court agreed with the South Dakota Department of Social Services that Medicaid cannot be used as an estate planning tool to pay for nursing home care.

The judgment from the Eugene E. Shipman case determined that an individual has a duty to support themselves and must use their own assets, including assets gained following the death of a spouse, to pay for their own long-term care needs before Medicaid is available to provide assistance.

Department of Social Services Secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon noted, “It is important for the state to ensure Medicaid is only used for people who don’t have the resources to provide for themselves. This Supreme Court decision affirms our position.”

Medicaid may be used to pay for long term care needs such as nursing homes, assisted living or nursing services in the home for those who are eligible. There are specific rules concerning income and assets for a person to be eligible for Medicaid to pay for long term care.

Secretary Malsam-Rysdon indicated, “Our staff work hard to make sure Medicaid eligibility determinations are accurate and that only people who are eligible are on the program.  We will continue to be vigilant in our efforts to ensure Medicaid is not used as an estate planning tool.”

For the entire case decision, visit the South Dakota Unified Judicial System’s website at: