Adult Children May Be Required To Pay For Aging Parents Care
 
 
Did you know you could be responsible for your parents’ unpaid bills? Thirty states currently have laws making adult children responsible for their parents if their parents can’t afford to take care of themselves. While these laws are rarely enforced, there has been speculation that states may begin dusting them off as a way to save on Medicaid expenses. These laws, called filial responsibility laws, obligate adult children to provide necessities like food, clothing, housing, and medical attention for their indigent parents. 21 states allow a civil court action to obtain financial support or cost recovery, 12 states impose criminal penalties on children who do not support their parents, and three states allow both civil and criminal actions.
 
 
States with filial responsibility laws are: Alaska, Arkansas,
 
California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa,
 
Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana,
 
 
Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota,
 
 
Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota,
 
 
Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.
 
 
To look up the actual language of the statutes, here are the
 
 
citations:
 
 
 
1. Alaska Stat. 25.20.030, 47.25.230 (Michie 2000)
 
 
2. Arkansas Code Ann. 20-47-106 (Michie 1991)
 
 
3. California Fam. Code 4400, 4401, 4403, 4410-4414 (West 1994),
 
 
California Penal Code 270c (West 1999), California Welf. & Inst.
 
 
Code 12350 (West Supp. 2001)
 
 
4. Connecticut Gen. Stat. Ann. 46b-215, 53-304 (West Supp. 2001)
 
 
5. Delaware Code Ann. tit. 13, 503 (1999)
 
 
6. Georgia Code Ann. 36-12-3 (2000)
 
 
7. Idaho Code 32-1002 (Michie 1996)
 
 
8. Indiana Code Ann. 31-16-17-1 to 31-16-17-7 (West 1997); Indiana
 
 
Code Ann. 35-46-1-7 (West 1998)
 
 
9. Iowa Code Ann. 252.1, 252.2, 252.5, 252.6, 252.13 (West 2000)
 
 
10. Kentucky Rev. Stat. Ann. 530.050 (Banks-Baldwin 1999)
 
 
11. Louisiana Rev. Stat. Ann. 4731 (West 1998)
 
 
12. Maryland Code Ann., Fam. Law 13-101, 13-102, 13-103, 13-109
 
 
(1999)
 
 
13. Massachusetts Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 273, 20 (West 1990)
 
 
14. Mississippi Code Ann. 43-31-25 (2000)
 
 
15. Montana Code Ann. 40-6-214, 40-6-301 (2000)
 
 
16. Nevada Rev. Stat. Ann. 428.070 (Michie 2000);
 
 
Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. 439B.310 (Michie 2000)
 
 
17. New Hampshire Rev. Stat. Ann. 167:2 (1994)
 
 
18. New Jersey Stat. Ann. 44:4-100 to 44:4-102, 44:1-139 to 44:1-
 
 
141 (West 1993)
 
 
19. North Carolina Gen. Stat. 14-326.1 (1999)
 
 
20. North Dakota Cent. Code 14-09-10 (1997)
 
 
21. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. 2919.21 (Anderson 1999)
 
 
22. Oregon Rev. Stat. 109.010 (1990)
 
 
23. 62 Pennsylvania Cons. Stat. 1973 (1996)
 
 
24. Rhode Island Gen. Laws 15-10-1 to 15-10-7 (2000); R.I. Gen.
 
 
Laws 40-5-13 to 40-5-18 (1997)
 
 
25. South Dakota Codified Laws 25-7-28 (Michie 1999)
 
 
26. Tennessee Code Ann. 71-5-115 (1995), Tenn. Code Ann. 71-5-
 
 
103 (Supp. 2000)
 
 
27. Utah Code Ann. 17-14-2 (1999)
 
 
28. Vermont Stat. Ann. tit. 15, 202-03 (1989)
 
 
29. Virginia Code Ann. 20-88 (Michie 2000)
 
 
30. West Virginia Code 9-5-9 (1998)
 
 
Generally, most states do not require children to provide care if they do not have the ability to pay or if the parents abandoned them or did not support them.
The passage of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 made it more difficult to qualify for Medicaid, which means there may be more elderly individuals in nursing homes with no ability to pay for care. In response, nursing homes may use the filial responsibility laws as a way to get care paid for.

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