Fortunately, there are certain laws that protect the income of married persons so the community spouse doesn’t face destitution. Community spouse income allowance is based on several factors, which our Medicaid planning attorney will be able to explain in better detail during your next appointment.
Special Income Rules for Married Persons
The basic spousal income allowance is a minimum of $2,288.75 per month.
If the community spouse qualifies, he or she receives a shelter allowance to the extent that their monthly shelter expenses exceed $686.63.
Shelter expenses include:
- Condo maintenance charges
- Land contract
- Mortgage payments
- Property taxes
- Homeowners insurance
Heating and Utility Allowance
The heating and utility allowance for the community spouse is set at a fixed rate of $620 per month. However, if your shelter expenses exceed $686.63, the excess amount will be added to the minimum income allowance of $2,288.75 per month. Keep in mind that the income allowance for the community spouse cannot exceed $3,715 per month.
Total Spousal Income Allowance
Once the total spousal income allowance has been determined, the community spouse’s own monthly income is deducted from the total allowance. The remaining sum is the amount that is diverted from the income of the patient spouse to the community spouse. If the community spouse’s own income is greater than the income allowance, then all of the patient spouse’s income will be applied to the patient pay amount.
There is no limit on the amount of income that can be earned by the community spouse. Other than determining whether the community spouse is entitled to an income allowance, the community spouse’s income is not used to pay for the patient spouse’s nursing home care.
Before you apply for Medicaid, consult with our elder law attorney to learn how special income rules for married persons affect you and your spouse. We also offer estate planning services so you can learn how Medicaid benefits fit into your overall retirement planning.