Medicaid is a needs-based, means-tested joint Federal and state program that pays for your nursing level care when you are unable to pay for the care from your own funds. Medicaid most often pays for nursing care in a nursing home, but can also pay for care in a patient’s private home. Middle-class families can qualify for Medicaid benefits to pay for catastrophically expensive nursing care by rearranging their finances.
In return for receiving a high level of monetary benefits for nursing home care, the big disadvantages for a married couple are:
Medicaid Rules for Couples
These are the basic eligibility rules:
Nonetheless, we use gifting techniques all the time. We just need to do so in a planned, strategic way that will be effective to accomplish the goals for you.
For example, you can:
Another big exception is that IRAs or other qualified retirement plan accounts belonging to the other spouse - the “community spouse” who’s not ill and not heading toward nursing care, but remaining at home in the community - are exempt and are not counted, no matter the amount. As the community spouse, all of your qualified retirement plan assets would be excluded from this calculation.
Spend Down For A Married Person
When a married person applies for Medicaid benefits for nursing care, the key questions are:
Community Spouse Resource Allowance
As the community spouse, you are allowed to keep a certain amount of the assets, called the “Community Spouse Resource Allowance,” The Community Spouse Resource Allowance consists of one half of the remaining total, but subject to a minimum and maximum. In 2017, the minimum amount that in the community spouse can keep from the couple’s combined assets is $23,844 and the maximum is $119, 220.
Under this rule, the community spouse gets to keep one half, but at least $23,844 and up to a maximum $119,220 (as of 2017) of the combined funds right at the start.
Institutional Spouse’s Share
All the remaining assets are seen by Medicaid as “available resources” belonging to or attributed to the nursing patient or “institutional spouse” that must be spent (in Medicaid’s view) before Medicaid will start to pay anything for his or her care. We work to protect those remaining assets for you rather than just spending them.
Although for spouses, your assets are lumped together, your separate incomes are treated separately. If you are the nursing home patient in a nursing facility, you have to spend almost all of your own income to pay toward the cost of your care each month, so that Medicaid only has to pay the balance. However, as the other spouse, the community spouse remaining at home in the community, you do not have to spend your own monthly in-come on your ill spouse’s cost of care. As the community spouse, you can keep your own income.
Call today to meet with an elder law attorney in Pittsburgh, with offices in Monroeville. Contact Marks Elder Law today to start the planning process.