Medicaid, long-term care, and your spouse
We as Americans are living longer. The longer we live, the more likely it is that we will spend time in a skilled-nursing facility or nursing home. Skilled-nursing facilities are very expensive and are the source of anxiety for people planning their retirement. It can also come as a shock when a loved one needs the care provided by such a facility. In particular, when a spouse suffers an injury or medical condition which requires them to move into a skilled-nursing facility, there are often many emotions going on that add to the stress. Medicaid will pay for a skilled-nursing facility if you qualify. Qualifying for Medicaid is different if only one spouse needs care.
Medicaid was signed into law in 1965 as a program to provide medical services to those living in poverty. Medicaid became law at the same time as Medicare, which is intended to provide medical care to older Americans. As a starting point, it reminds us why the criteria for Medicaid eligibility is based on income and assets rather than age.
For an individual to be eligible for Medicaid they may only have $2,000 in assets. For a married couple where only one needs skilled-nursing care, however, the formula is much more complex. Medicaid refers to the spouse not needing care as the “community spouse.”
The community spouse is entitled to an asset allowance of between $23,844 and $119,220. It is also important to remember that certain assets are not counted. Specifically, the homestead, a vehicle, and personal property. The community spouse is also entitled to a monthly income allowance of between $$1,992 and $2,981.
The first step to determine what the asset allowance will be, you must first determine when the “snapshot” day was. The snapshot day is the first day that the person required skilled-nursing care. You then must compile the assets of both spouses for that day. The number is then divided by two and so long as it is not less than the minimum or more than the maximum this number represents the value of assets that a community spouse may keep.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is the organization that makes these determinations. Those in need of Medicaid file an application with MDHHS. In addition to completing the application, the department expects that you document the answers. In other words, the application must be accompanied by documents that prove the numbers you use in the application.
If you have any questions about the application or the community spouse allowance, please contact Dafoe Law, PLLC.
Dafoe Law, PLLC is a Estate Planning law firm serving the Estate Planning, long-term care, probate, and trust administration needs of clients in Saginaw, Bay, Genesee, Huron and Tuscola Counties. Dafoe Law serves Frankenmuth, Bridgeport, Birch Run, Reese, Millington, Clio, Vassar, Saginaw, Saginaw Township, Freeland, Thomas Township, Spaulding Township, Burt, Bay City, Essexville, Munger, Kochville Township, Caro, Cass City, Sebewaing, Unionville, Pigeon, Bad Axe. Travis I. Dafoe is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorney and WealthCounsel. Dafoe Law, PLLC is also a member of the Life Care Planning Law Firm Association.