You Can Be Sued For Your Parent’s Nursing Home Bill

Yes, you read that title correctly. In Pennsylvania, a nursing home can sue adult children for a parent’s unpaid nursing home bills.

This law is called the Filial Responsibility Law and you need to be aware of it if your parents are currently receiving care or may need care in the future.

This law has been in existence for decades but has only recently been used by nursing homes to recover a parent’s unpaid medical bills.
The law holds that a child is responsible for their parent’s care. It is a support law, similar to Spousal Support or Child Support. A child’s duty is a result of the family relationship and there are very limited defenses to the lawsuit.

The nursing home can only go after the adult children if no one else is paying the bills. Typically, Medicaid will pay for a nursing home when a senior runs out of money. However, if the senior had gifted assets, then there could be a period of time when they are not eligible for benefits. During this time, the nursing home is still owed substantial sums of money. The law allows the children to be pursued for payment.
The lesson here is to not make costly Medicaid Mistakes in the first place. If you are worried about the costs of long term care, you should seek the help of a Certified Elder Law Attorney to help you plan correctly.

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Editor’s Note: This article was submitted by Tim Sechler, Esq., a Certified Elder Law Attorney and Principal of Sechler Law Firm, LLC.