Protecting Your Spouse’s Income During Long-Term Care
If you are the spouse of an individual living in a nurse home, the federal Medicaid program has a set of rules to allow you adequate income and assets to continue to support yourself. The rules apply to any spouses of Medicaid recipients who are receiving long-term care, even in their own homes (as of 2014).
Spouses of people receiving Medicaid benefits while in long-term care can keep their income — as well as some of their spouse’s income — if they need financial support. The total amount of money a spouse may keep while remaining exempt from Medicaid’s eligibility figure is the minimum monthly maintenance needs allowance (MMMNA). This number may vary across states, but there is a federal maximum and minimum. Until July 2017, the minimum figure is $2002.50 and the maximum is $3022.50. State agencies will not count that income when determining whether the spouse in need is financially eligible for Medicaid benefits.
In addition to protecting some of the spouse’s income, an individual is also allowed to maintain half of the couple’s marital assets. The assets the healthy spouse may legally keep is referred to as the community spouse resource allowance (CSRA). The federal maximum for that allowance is $120,900 and the minimum is $24,180.
Federal law also offers protections to the home of a Medicaid recipient and the property on which it sits. If the Medicaid recipient wishes to return home, the first $560,000 in equity gets excluded when determining whether the spouse in need qualifies for Medicaid.
For further information and advice on the financial protections afforded to Medicaid recipients and their spouse, consult a knowledgeable Florida long-term care planning attorney at The Charles Law Office.