For 2018, if you or your spouse lives in a nursing home, the community spouse will be able to keep half of all countable assets (not more than $123,600 or less than $24,700).
Any assets over the limit will need to be protected or spent down before the spouse in the nursing home can become eligible for Medicaid. Our Medicaid planning attorney will be able to help you with asset protection, as well as acquaint you with the special asset rules for married persons.
Special Asset Rules for Married Persons
Spousal Impoverishment Rules
Special asset rules for married persons were put in place to protect the community spouse from a Medicaid spend down. Before the 1988 Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act (MCCA), each spouse was seen as a separate economic unit. This meant that the assets and income of the patient spouse were not considered to be available to the community spouse.
If only one spouse needed long-term care, the couple’s assets would have been spent down to pay for nursing home expenses and to make the patient spouse eligible for Medicaid. Once the couple’s life savings were gone, there would have been no money left for the community spouse.
The spousal impoverishment rules protect married couples by acknowledging that their assets and incomes are shared. Today, the community spouse is guaranteed a share of the assets and income.
Asset Snapshot Date
Before you or your spouse starts long-term care, the government will need to take a “snapshot” of your assets. Depending on your family’s circumstances, the asset snapshot date could be the day the patient spouse is admitted to a nursing home or hospital (if transferred to a nursing home immediately after). The asset snapshot day marks the beginning of continuous long-term care.
Our Medicaid planning attorney can help you determine how much of the assets will be allowed for the community spouse. This allowance is called the community spouse resource allowance. First, our Medicaid lawyer will help you complete a declaration of all assets you and your spouse own using the highest balance or value on the date nearest the asset snapshot date.
Once a government caseworker reviews your income and assets, they will be able to determine how much community spouse resource allowance will be given to the community spouse. Our Medicaid planning attorney can also help you determine the amount for community spouse resource allowance.
Spousal Asset Allowance
For 2018, the community spouse is entitled to half the countable assets (not more than $123,600, but with a guaranteed minimum of $24,700). Assets exceeding the allowance will be considered available for the patient spouse. As a result, these excess assets will need to be protected or spent down before the patient spouse can become eligible for Medicaid benefits.
Our Norton Shores Medicaid attorney will be able to help you understand the most recent changes to Medicaid law and how they affect your application and estate. To schedule your consultation with Medicaid attorney Douglas H. McPhail, call (231) 799-4994.