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Does My Spouse Have To Contribute His/her Income Towards My Care?

This edition of the Koldin Report E-Newsletter is part of a series on Frequently Asked Questions About Medicaid.

All prior newsletters are saved on our website. You can read them by clicking here.

In this newsletter we answer the following question:

If I am in a Nursing Home on Medicaid, Does my spouse have to contribute his/her income towards my care?

If you are in a nursing home on Medicaid, all of your income less a $50 personal needs allowance must be paid to the nursing home for the cost of your care with Medicaid then paying the balance.

However, if you have a spouse living at home (Community Spouse) whose total income is less than $3,160.50 (2019 figures), you are entitled to transfer enough of your income each month to your spouse to bring him/her up to the spousal income allowance of $3,160.50.

Example: Peter is in a nursing home on Medicaid and has monthly income from Social Security and Pension of $3,000 per month. His wife, Mary, is living at home and has total monthly income from Social Security and investment interest of $2,000. Peter can transfer $1,160.50 each month to Mary to bring her total income up to $3,160.50. Peter can keep $50 per month for personal expenses. The balance of his income each month must be paid to the nursing home.

If the Community Spouse has monthly income of his/her own which is already above the Community Spouse income allowance of $3,160.50, then instead of receiving income from the institutionalized spouse, the reverse happens. The Medicaid Agency “requests” that the Community Spouse contribute 25% of any monthly income he/she has above $3,160.50.

Example: Mary is in a nursing home on Medicaid and has an income from Social Security of $1,000 per month. Her husband, Peter, is living at home and has total monthly income from Social Security, Pension, and investment interest of $5,000. This means that Peter has excess income above $3,160.50 of $1,839.50 ($5,000 – $3,160.50 = $1,839.50). The Medicaid Agency will “request” that Peter contribute 25% of $1,839.50 which is $460 per month.

If the Community Spouse does not comply with the Medicaid Agency’s “request” of the 25% contribution and refuses to contribute his/her income (“Spousal Refusal”), then the Medicaid Agency has the legal right to file a Court action against the Community Spouse for spousal support.

For a more detailed discussion of “Spousal Refusals” and the success the Koldin Law Center, P.C. has had in protecting excess income for our clients, please see the newsletter about Spousal Refusals on our website by clicking here.

For more information about the Medicaid eligibility rules, please visit our website by clicking here.

The Koldin Law Center, P.C. is available to help. We assist families in protecting their life savings even when someone is already in a nursing home.

At the Koldin Law Center, P.C., located in East Syracuse, New York, we have over 50 years of experience helping individuals plan for immediate crisis and long term care. When the Koldin Law Center, P.C. handles a Medicaid case, we not only handle the entire application process, but we also review asset protection options with our clients. We review with our clients who are already in a Nursing Home options to protect some or all of their assets beyond merely establishing Medicaid eligibility. We do not charge a fee for the initial consultation. We welcome your children, family attorney, accountant, and/or financial planner to be present at the initial consultation.

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