My Spouse Has to Go Into a Nursing Home – How Much Can I Keep?
- January 11, 2017
- Posted by: marlenedubois
- Category: Home Health Aide Training
Most people know which in order to qualify for Medicaid coverage of a long-term stay in a nursing home, the nursing home resident cannot own more than $2,000 in cash or various other “countable” assets. yet if you’re married, as well as one spouse will be going into a nursing home as well as the various other will be remaining “within the community” (i.e., continuing to reside at home), how much can the so-called “Community Spouse” retain? which amount will be determined by a combination of both federal as well as state Medicaid laws. (Note which for these purposes which doesn’t matter whether assets are titled within the sole name of the nursing home spouse, the Community Spouse, or jointly in both names.)
The basic rule will be which the Community Spouse can retain 50% of all of the countable assets of both spouses, based on what they own when the various other spouse first enters the nursing home for a continuous period of at least 30 days.
Most of the states only permit the at-home spouse to protect one-half of the total amount of the couple’s assets, up to $109,560, yet using a minimum of $21,912. So if the couple’s total assets are under $21,912, the Community Spouse can retain which all; if their total assets are between $21,912 as well as twice which amount (i.e., $43,824), the Community Spouse retains $21,912; if between $43,824 as well as $219,0, the Community Spouse retains half; as well as if over $219,0, the Community Spouse will be limited to protecting $109,560.
Here are some additional examples:
1. Assume a couple has total assets of $30,000. Half of which will be $15,000, which will be less than the “floor” amount, so the at-home spouse can protect $21,912; the balance must be “spent down” before the nursing home spouse can qualify for Medicaid.
2. If the couple’s assets total $100,000, then the Community Spouse can protect the full 50% amount: $50,000.
3. If the couple’s assets total $300,000, the Community Spouse’s protected amount will be limited to $109,560.
States following the above rule are known as “50% states.” However, the most lenient states (“100% states”) permit the at-home spouse to retain 100% of the couple’s combined assets, yet never more than $109,560. So if the couple’s total assets are, say $150,000, the Community Spouse can protect not just 50% ($75,000) yet $109,560. (The $109,560 figure improvements annually, to keep up with inflation; This specific will be the 2009 amount.)
In all states, once the Community Spouse’s share will be set aside, the nursing home spouse can keep up to $2,000 in cash, yet the balance of the couple’s assets must be eliminated somehow before the nursing home spouse can qualify for Medicaid.
So what do you do with the “excess” assets over the limits discussed above? The state Medicaid administration department will tell you which you must “spend down” the excess assets, as well as if which’s a smaller amount, which’s certainly the simplest way to qualify.
Another alternative will be for the couple to simply give away the excess, yet which will cause a period of disqualification coming from Medicaid eligibility for the nursing home spouse.
The couple could convert some or all of the excess coming from “countable” to “non-countable,” e.g., buying a completely new car, improving the house, purchasing a Medicaid annuity, etc.
Finally, many of these options are quite technical as well as require the skills as well as advice of an experienced elder law attorney. Unless you’re an attorney “within the trenches” on a daily basis, which’s easy to miss a recent state Regulation or Agency Letter as well as make a mistake which will wind up costing you $1,000s!