Liens Placed On Real Estate By Connecticut Department Of Social Services (DSS)

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The state of Connecticut may have the right to recover money it paid in public assistance benefits if the recipient of the benefits owns property. In such cases, the state may place a lien—which is a claim that can be used to repay a debt—against the property.

When DSS places a lien on a client’s home, it means, in most cases, that the department will recover money when the client dies. If the individual is survived by a spouse or child under 21, the repayment would be delayed until the spouse dies and the child turns 21.  It does not mean that the client will be forced to sell their home before they choose to. The money recovered is limited to the amount that the department issued to the client or on the client’s behalf.  One instance where the state could seek repayment from a HUSKY client who is still living, is if a person receiving Medicaid services for an injury received in an accident receives a financial settlement due to the accident, the state can look for reimbursement for bills related to the accident.

The following list provides information on which public assistance benefits and recipients may be subject to liens:

All Cash Assistance Programs Require a Lien:

These programs are subject to recovery repayment, including having the state place a lien on property or make a claim against any inheritance the individual is to receive, any lottery winnings, or any other windfall of monies.

Some Medicaid Programs Require a Lien:

Most Medical Assistance Programs Do Not Require a Lien

Food Stamp Assistance Never Requires a Lien.

For More Information on Liens Relative to DSS Benefits, see the Office of Legislative Research Report entitled “State Liens on Real Property of Public Assistance Recipients” (Feb. 2020)

State of Connecticut
Department of Social Services/Investigations and Recoveries Division
55 Farmington Avenue
Hartford, Connecticut 06105-3730
Phone: 1-800-842-2155
Fax: (860) 424-4945



Source: Connecticut Department of Social Services/Office of Quality Assurance
Prepared by: 211/tb
Content last modified: October2020