This question is becoming a common one for the Advisement of Elderly, Disabled, and Needy Clients. Medical Assistance (Medicaid) and participation provided under the Illinois Department of Public Aid (IDPA), are both public benefit programs that are "needs" based. Both programs provide Medical and Living Assistance to persons who fall into specific categories (age, or disability) and who meet set standards. Not to be confused with Medicare, Medicaid eligibility is not related to a person’s insured status, under the Social Security Act., 42 U.S.C. Sec. 301, et seq. Not all nursing home participate in Medicaid or Public Aid programs. However, those that do, follow specific limitation criteria for the allowance or transfer of asset and regard some as "exempt." The IDPA will deny eligibility to, and impose transfer penalties upon any nursing home resident who transfers or whose spouse transfers any "homestead" for less than fair market value) during or after the 36-month period immediately before application. Of benefits. The number of months of ineligibility will then be determined by dividing the private-pay cost of the nursing home into the amount exempt assets. For further explanation you may contact the Bureau of Long Term Care at 217/782-0545, or contact an attorney, such as myself, that can advise you on Elder Care and Estate Planning. IDPA and Medicaid has become complex. There are many benefits to their services, however, If having problems understanding the myriad of rules and exceptions, consult a professional.