What is Medicaid’s Spouse Allowance?

Individuals whose husbands or wives have been admitted to a nursing home often worry that they’ll be left without sufficient income or assets to meet their support needs. Fortunately, as is detailed below, Medicaid law accounts for this situation by providing assets and income allowances to the spouses of nursing home residents.

The details

Medicaid’s long-term care coverage pays the nursing home costs for eligible individuals. And under Medicaid’s spousal impoverishment rules for married applicants, an at-home spouse, also known as a community spouse, is permitted to keep all of his or her separate income and enough of the Medicaid applicant’s income to reach what is known as the monthly maintenance needs allowance. The community spouse may also own separate countable resources up to a specific amount. The family home, household contents, certain income-producing property, prepaid burial spaces and funeral plans, and certain retirement accounts are not included in this allowance amount.

The separate income of the Medicaid applicant’s spouse that isn’t assigned to the community spouse as part of his or her monthly maintenance needs allowance must be used to pay the applicant’s share of nursing home costs, but the community spouse’s assets and income aren’t required to be used for this care. However, it is important to keep in mind that penalties may be imposed for asset transfers by the applicant or the community spouse to others.

Estate recovery

Each state Medicaid agency is required by federal law to attempt to recover reimbursement from each deceased Medicaid recipient’s estate for all nursing home services paid by Medicaid after the recipient was 55 years old. This claim, however, must be waived by Medicaid if there is a surviving dependent under 22 years old, a surviving dependent who is disabled or blind, a surviving spouse, or if it is determined by court order or Medicaid that recovery would result in undue hardship. In addition, estate recovery against a recipient’s residence may be waived if the value of the property is under $75,000 and there is a surviving child, grandchild, or spouse.

Mississippi Elder Law Attorneys

Whether you need assistance with Medicaid planning or require guidance on other issues such as end-of-life decisions, unexpected incapacity, public benefit eligibility, or other elder-related matters, the experienced and compassionate Mississippi elder law attorneys of Palmer & Slay, PLLC, are here to help. At Palmer & Slay, PLLC, our experienced Mississippi elder law lawyers utilize our education, experience, talents, and abilities to provide excellent legal service to clients in Rankin County and throughout the Jackson metropolitan area. Whether practicing in the areas of elder law, estate planning, probate law, or other areas affecting the lives of elders, our goal is to help our clients achieve peace of mind by providing the most effective and efficient legal assistance possible. Please contact us today for a free consultation.