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Chapter 13. Medicaid > Protection from Spousal Impoverishment

Protection from Spousal Impoverishment

Although the assets of both a husband and wife are considered in determining eligibility for Medicaid benefits to pay for long-term care in a nursing home, only one spouse might reside in the nursing home while the other remains at home in the community. Medicaid shows some concern for the economic well-being of the community spouse. In response to this concern, the law provides for a Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance, which is adjusted annually in accordance with federal poverty figures. As of January 1, 2003, the Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance was $1,493. If the community spouse’s own income is less than this, Medicaid will permit the community spouse to either take a sufficient amount of the income from the nursing home resident spouse to reach this level or permit the community spouse, in order to generate further income, to keep a greater amount of assets than otherwise would have to be spent down to reach allowable levels for Medicaid eligibility.

The law provides for the Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance to be increased to a Maximum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance, which in 2003 was set at $2,267 if the community spouse can show that housing costs require the additional money.


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