News & Insights

HOW DOES THE “AT HOME SPOUSE” MAKE ENDS MEET?
May 10, 2017
by Wendell Walsh

 

Many people 65 and over who need nursing home care eventually wind up on Medicaid. Often, the nursing home resident is married, and the spouse is still living in the family home (referred to as the “At Home Spouse” or the “Community Spouse”).

Suppose the husband is in a nursing home and his only income is his Social Security in the amount of $2,200 per month. The wife receives $1,600 per month from Social Security and is still living at home. If some portion of the Husband’s Social Security check must be paid on the nursing home bill, how is the wife to get by?

Under the Medicaid rules, a portion of the husband’s monthly income will go to the wife to bring her income up to at least $2,030.00 per month (as of July 2017). That number can be higher if her shelter expenses (mortgage or rent, property taxes, utilities, etc.) are exceptionally high. With the help of an elder law attorney, the wife can present the documents needed to maximize the monthly income she has available for her needs.

This example focuses only on the income of the couple. Separate rules apply to their assets. With planning, legal steps can also be taken to preserve as much of the assets for the Community Spouse as possible.

May Oberfell Lorber attorneys Wendell Walsh and Marcel Lebbin assist seniors in this area. If you think there is any chance you or a loved one might need Medicaid coverage someday, we encourage you to sit down with an elder law attorney now. By planning in advance, we can reduce the anxiety people naturally feel if a nursing home stay is needed.

This newsletter is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice.

 

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