Your Medicaid Limits affected by Marriage and your Assets
Marriage can have an effect on your ability to qualify for Medicaid. Essentially, when you are married, all the assets owned by both you and your spouse will be counted when determining your financial eligibility for Medicaid. Thus, if your spouse needs nursing home or long-term care and you don’t, you will have to spend up to $3,000 so your husband or wife will be able to qualify for Medicaid.
However, the spouse not needing care will still be able to keep some exempt assets. These include: 1) The couple’s home for as long as it is used as the residence of the spouse not needing care; 2) Furniture, kitchen items, etc.; 3) Clothing, accessories, and personal care items; and the 4) Community spouse resource allowance.
Medicaid law seeks to protect the spouse who does not need institutional care from what is known as “spousal impoverishment.” The aim of these Medicaid provisions is to ensure that community spouses still living at home in the community will be able to “live out their lives with independence and dignity.”
The community spouse resources allowance is the amount that are at the discretion of each state to exempt. The minimum and maximum limits are set by the Federal government. The Medicaid website further explains: “Depending on how much of his or her own income the community spouse actually has, a certain amount of income belonging to the spouse in the institution can also be set aside for the community spouse’s use.”
For 2011, these are the amounts of resources and income that can be protected for a community spouse:
Minimum Community Spouse Resource Standard – $21,912.00
Maximum Community Spouse Resource Standard – $109,560.00
Maximum Monthly Maintenance Standard – $2,739.00
Minimum Monthly Maintenance Standard –$1,838.75
If a couple is not considered legally married, the value of the resources or assets is split jointly between the two.
When Assets Exceed the Limits
What if you have more assets and as a result get your Medicaid application denied? Well, if you have reason to believe that you should qualify, you can appeal the decision. Another way to become eligible is to reduce your assets. You can do this by making your assets exempt assets; by paying bills or debts that you may have; and by spending any extra money you have on medical needs and everyday maintenance needs of both you and your spouse.