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Is it Too Late to Protect My Assets if My Spouse is Already in a Nursing Home?

Going into nursing home care requires families to consider issues like the cost of care, how to protect assets, and what to do if one spouse is already in a nursing home. 

Having a spouse transition into a nursing home is stressful for everyone involved, including the spouse living at home. It involves difficult decisions and a lot of anxiety. Some of that anxiety is due to how complex financing the nursing home care can seem. For many spouses still living at home, the thought of losing all their assets comes to mind. Families should know that there are ways to cover the costs of a loved one being in a nursing home without draining assets. 

Nursing Home Costs

Nursing homes can cost hundreds of dollars per day. However, the Federal government has written the laws around Medicaid for an independent, healthy spouse to keep assets and income intact. Congress enacted the  Spousal Impoverishment Protection Act in 1988. Congress intended to protect a spouse living in the community from becoming destitute and ensures that a specific amount of assets are protected. The Spousal Impoverishment Protection Act provides that the spouse living in the community has enough to live on while their loved one is in a nursing home.

If your spouse has entered a nursing home, you should not lose your income, whether the source is employment or social security. When the agency determines the eligibility of one spouse for Medicaid, the community spouse’s income should not be considered. Only the spouse that lives in the nursing home will have their income considered for eligibility in the program. 

Sometimes a contribution is required to nursing home costs for a spouse if the community spouse’s income exceeds a specific amount. However, its goal is that the contribution would not be so burdensome that the independent spouse would not have enough to live. 

Will I Lose My Spouses Income When They Enter a Nursing Home?

Although your spouse may have entered a nursing home, that does not mean that you will automatically lose their income. That depends on your income and how much you require to support yourself comfortably. The amount you receive is based on the Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance, which is the minimum monthly amount a healthy spouse is entitled to. The amount set by the Federal government as of 2019 is about $2,100. The maximum amount available is about $3,100. Generally, if your income falls less than $2,100 and $3,100, you are most likely entitled to some of your spouse’s income. 

Your spouse in the nursing home should expect to lose most of their income if Medicaid is involved, as they’re only allowed to keep a small portion of their monthly income. This is called a Personal Needs Allowance

You will be able to keep your home if you continue to live in it, no matter what the value is. The house is considered exempt from counting toward Medicaid, as are your furnishings, personal effects, vehicles, and funeral plots, and prepaid burials. 

Contact an Asset Protection Lawyer

The laws surrounding Medicaid eligibility and covering the costs of nursing home care can seem daunting. It is important to seek counsel from an experienced elder law attorney who can point you in the right direction. An experienced Asset Protection lawyer can help ease your concerns. Contact The Mattar Firm today at 844-444-4444.

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