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What Protections Do Spouses Have From Medicaid?

| Jan 22, 2021 | Medicaid Planning |

Getting a spouse into a long-term care facility or nursing home is one of the most challenging things a person can go through. If that spouse has dementia or some other cognitive disorder, they may not understand this change in their habitation and may react in a way that can leave a huge emotional toll on their spouse. The type of care provided under Medicaid comes with conditions that could put a person at risk financially. 

Understanding the spousal impoverishment protection law

Since 1989, the spousal impoverishment protection law has provided a certain amount of protection to the spouse that doesn’t require nursing home care (also called the ‘community spouse’). These protections apply to married couples where one spouse is receiving Managed Long Term Care (MLTC). Here are some of the conditions of this law: 

  • A community spouse may be able to keep up to a maximum of half the non-exempt assets. 
  • The total of these assets may not exceed $130,380.
  • The spouse in the nursing home can be allowed $2000 in non-exempt assets to remain eligible for Medicaid. 
  • A community spouse can keep all the income that is solely in that person’s name. 
  • If a community spouse’s income doesn’t add up to $2,155 a month, they may keep a portion of the nursing home spouse’s assets to reach that minimum.
  • A nursing home spouse is required to contribute all of his/her income to nursing home costs with $52 set aside for personal costs. 

Finding the best compromise for you and your spouse

You want your spouse to have the best care they can receive, care that may use up your savings in a swift fashion. At the time, you should be thinking about your future and your financial security without your spouse. If you have a loved one who needs long term care, you need to explore your options for maintaining enough of your assets to live.