1) Homestead property is exempt, and is the property that is owned and occupied by the person as their home. It includes any surrounding property that is not separated from the home by someone else's property.
When a person with homestead property is in a nursing home or a supportive living facility, the property remains exempt as a homestead if the person says it is their homestead and intends to return to it. If a person is in a nursing home or supportive living facility but does not intend to return to the property, it is still exempt as homestead if it is occupied by:
- the person's spouse;
- a dependent sibling of the person;
- the person's child under age 21; or
- the person's adult child who is blind or has a disability;
- the person's son or daughter who provided care to the person and resided in the home for the two years immediately before the person moved to the LTC facility.
If a person abandons homestead property with no intention of returning, it immediately becomes non-homestead property.
Homestead property transferred to a trust is not exempt unless the person, or his/her authorized representative, provides evidence that the person's spouse or minor child or child with a disability resides in the property.
2) If a resident of a nursing home (NH), supportive living facility (SLF), or a person receiving services through the Illinois Department on Aging (DoA) Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) waiver program, has equity value in their homestead property over the allowable amount (see WAG 25-03-02 (2), the resident is ineligible for payment of NH or SLF charges, unless:
- the resident's spouse, dependent sibling, child under age 21, blind or disabled child, or child who provided care (as described above) resides in the home; or
- a hardship waiver is granted (see PM 01-08-00).
For applicants with non-farmland homestead property in Cook County, acceptable proof of fair market homestead value is determined by multiplying the most recent tax assessment value by 10. For all other Illinois counties, multiply the most recent tax assessment value by 3. To dispute the value calculated in this way, the customer or his/her representative must provide a reasonable alternative value from a licensed real estate professional.