The expense of nursing home care, which ranges from $5,000 to $8,000 a month or more, can negatively impact the savings of elderly couples. The expense can leave the spouse still living at home with little or no income. Spousal impoverishment protection helps avoid such a scenario. The protection applies to individuals in nursing homes and to certain individuals receiving home and community-based services. It only applies to those with income after their Medicaid eligibility has been established.
Under the Medicaid spousal impoverishment provisions, a certain amount of the couple’s combined resources is protected for the spouse living in the community. Depending on how much of his or her own income the community spouse has, a certain amount of income belonging to the spouse in the nursing home can also be made available for the community spouse’s use.
A calculation is made to determine how much an individual in a nursing home is able to contribute to the cost of care. The contribution is determined by first calculating the individual’s total income and then deducting certain amounts from that income. The individual’s contribution is his or her total income minus the following deductions:
- A personal needs allowance of at least $30;
- If there is a community spouse and the spousal impoverishment rules discussed above apply, a community spouse’s monthly income allowance not exceeding $2,931;
- A family monthly income allowance, if there are other family members living in the household; and
- An amount for medical expenses incurred by the spouse who is in the medical facility.
Once the above items are deducted from the individual’s income, any remaining income, if any, is contributed toward the cost of his or her care in the institution.
Contact the law office of Weinstein, Chase, Messinger and Peters, to get any questions answered and set up a free initial consultation. These experienced attorneys can help you with any issues regarding spousal impoverishment and medicaid planning.