The State of Illinois has the legal right to recover assistance received through the Aid to the Aged, Blind or Disabled (AABD) program.
Liens and claims are the two legal actions used to collect the amount received by AABD clients.
A lien can be filed on any real property you own. A claim can be filed against your estate. The amount of the lien/claim will be equal to the amount of AABD assistance you received.
What is a lien?
A lien is filed on "real property," which is land and anything erected on, growing on, or affixed to the land, such as buildings.
- Liens are filed on both homestead and non-homestead property. Homestead property is the dwelling and adjacent property that you own and live in. Other real estate and buildings that you own (but do not live in) are considered non-homestead property.
- A lien will be filed against both homestead and non-homestead real property, regardless of the property's market value. Liens are not filed on mobile homes.
- No action will be taken to sell your property. If and when the property is sold, the lien will be paid.
- No action will be taken to enforce the lien when you die, if your property is occupied by your spouse, your child under age 21, your child over age 21 who is blind or disabled, or in some cases, your brother or sister.
When is a lien filed?
A lien is filed on your real property in the following situations:
- If you receive AABD cash and medical assistance, a lien will be filed in the amount of the cash assistance that was received.
- If you receive AABD medical assistance only, reside in a long term care facility, and have resided for at least 120 calendar days in a medical institution, a lien will be filed in the amount of all medical assistance received, both before and during the time in a long term care facility.
When counting the 120-day period a hospital stay or a transfer to another long term care facility does not interrupt the 120-day count. If you are discharged from the long term care facility to the community and then return to a medical institution, the 120-day count starts over with the first day of re-admission.
A lien will not be filed against your real property when you reside in a long term care facility if your property is occupied by your spouse, your child under age 21, your child over age 21 who is blind or disabled or, in some cases your brother or sister.
The lien will be released if you are discharged from the medical institution to return to your home.
A person who has resided in a medical institution for at least 120 calendar days is not reasonably expected to return home. Persons who receive medical assistance only and who have resided in a medical institution for at least 120 calendar days will be notified of the decision to file a lien on their real property.
If you want to appeal the decision, you can write a letter requesting a hearing or fill out a Notice of Appeal form. The form is available at all local Department of Human Services offices. If you need help filling it out, your caseworker will help you. Mail or take your letter or appeal form to your local Department of Human Services office or mail it to IDHS, Assistance Hearing Section, 401 South Clinton Avenue, Chicago, IL 60607. You can also appeal by calling 1-800-435-0774 toll free, Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. (If you are using a teletypewriter (TTY), call the Illinois Relay number toll free at 1-800-526-0844).
What is an estate claim?
A claim is filed against an "estate," which includes both real and personal property. A claim can be filed against the estate of a deceased client.
An estate claim is filed for clients who were receiving assistance at the time of death and clients who were cancelled prior to death.
When is a claim filed?
A claim will be filed against your estate in the following situations:
- If you received AABD cash and medical assistance, a claim will be filed to recover all cash assistance you received and any medical assistance paid after you reached age 55.
- If you received AABD medical assistance only, a claim will be filed for the amount of medical assistance paid after your 55th birthday.
- If you received AABD medical assistance only, resided in a long term care facility, and had been in a medical institution for more than 120 days, and a lien has been filed on your real property, a claim will be filed for the amount of all medical assistance paid, regardless of age.
Waiver of Claim
A claim may not be filed against your estate if recovery would cause an heir or beneficiary undue hardship. To waive recovery, the heir or beneficiary must show that the recovery would cause them to become or remain eligible for programs such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or SNAP Benefits.
For additional information about a waiver of estate recovery write to:
Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services
Bureau of Collections - Technical Recovery Section
2200 Churchill, Building A-1
Springfield, Illinois 62702-3406
How to get more information about Property Liens and Estate Claims or other Department of Human Services programs:
Call or visit your local Department of Human Services office. A caseworker at the local office will answer the questions you have. For information call:
Illinois Department of Human Services Helpline
Monday - Friday (except state holidays)
7:30 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Persons using a teletypewriter (TTY) can call toll-free at 1-800-447-6404.