My spouse is in a nursing home and I need help paying for care. What will I have to live on if my spouse gets Medicaid?
That’s one of the most common questions that we’re asked and especially I would say why I’ve so concerned that if their husband goes into a nursing home and they find out eventually that their husband’s income will go to the nursing home, what are they going to live on? There are two different sets of guidelines here; one of them is in the standard rules, under Federal Law, and those who call the spouse on impoverishment rules. They should be called the spouse on prevention of impoverishment rules. So there are certain assets that you’re allowed to keep that are exempt like the house, your car, your personal belongings and so on. You can set up a burial reserve and about half of the liquid assets up to a given figure, but that really isn’t enough for a lot of people, so there are other things that we do in planning that can help to extend what you’re able to keep, and one of the very common strategies that is used now is Medicaid DRA Compliant Annuity which is rather complicated but it will manage to have your spouse qualify for benefits earlier, get the same quality care, and allow you to receive an income to replace the income that you might otherwise lose. So, there are a lot of things that can be done, but you need to come in early enough that we can do something about it. You can’t wait until you’re down to $20,000 or $30,000 and then come in. You really need to let us know well in advance, so that we’re able to plan for you.
Esquire, Colliton Law Associates, P.C. Janet Colliton has practiced law for over 38 years, 37 of them in Chester County, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. Her practice, Colliton Law Associates, PC, is limited to elder law, Medicaid, including advice, applications and appeals, and other benefits planning including Veterans benefits, life care and special needs planning, guardianships, retirement, and estate planning and administration.