If my father is going into a nursing home.family and has a monthly pension and social security check, will the nursing home take all of that to pay for his care?

He and my mother have no savings but he will need to be on Medicaid. My father was the bread winner and I am concerned that there will be no money left for my mother to live. She has a small social security check but it is not enough to pay their bills/live off of.

Asked on July 16, 2014 under Business Law, Michigan


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Medicaid has certain protections set up for a healthy spouse.  It is not assumed that all of the income be used to help support the spouse in need of assistance. States are required to have spousal protection rules for Medicaid recipients who are in nursing homes. Spouses of long-term care patients receiving Medicaid are allowed to keep all of their own income, and they may be able to keep some of their spouse’s income if they need the financial support. The amount of money that a spouse may keep and that is exempt from the Medicaid eligibility calculation is called the "minimum monthly maintenance needs allowance"  (MMMNA). The MMMNA varies from state to state, but the federal government sets a minimum and a maximum periodically that is tied to poverty guidelines. Until July 1, 2015, the minimum is $1,967, and the maximum is $2,931. That amount of income is disregarded by the state Medicaid agency in evaluating whether the needy spouse is financially eligible for Medicaid. A spouse is also allowed to keep one-half of the couple’s marital assets (resources), subject to a minimum and maximum that is set by each state Medicaid agency, according to federal guidelines. The state looks at the resources of the spouse applying for Medicaid on the date that the spouse began a hospital or nursing home stay that lasted at least 30 days. The healthy spouse is called the community spouse and amount of resources that the healthy spouse is allowed to keep is called the community spouse resource allowance (CSRA). Tha amount varies by state. Medicaid sets a minimum and maximum CSRA that the state CSRA fall within, but the states are allowed to choose from a wide range. In 2014, the federal maximum CSRA is $117,240, and the federal minimum is $23,448. You should check with your state’s Medicaid agency to find out how much in resources your Mom is allowed to keep if your dad enters a nursing home. Good luck.

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