Appropriate Medicaid 'Spend Down' ItemsTo be eligible for Medicaid Long-Term Care benefits, you must meet the financial eligibility standards. One aspect of the financial eligibility standard is meeting resource eligibility. This means that to qualify for the benefits, you cannot have resources valued over a specified amount.
Resources are either exempt or non-exempt. This distinction is critically important. Exempt resources do not count toward the determination of resources eligibility, whereas non-exempt resources do. Exempt resources include your home, one vehicle, household furnishings, a burial plot or urn space, or a life insurance policy with a face value of less than $1,500. Examples of non-exempt resources are cash, certain other investments, other real property, and certain other assets and valuables.
A single recipient cannot have more than $2,000 in non-exempt resources. Resource eligibility for married recipients is more complex, particularly when the recipient’s spouse will remain living at home. In these cases, eligibility is based on the total amount of resources that both spouses own. As a general rule, married couples cannot have more than $56,726 in non-exempt resources (community spousal resource allowance of $54,726 plus $2,000 for the Medicaid applicant’s spouse).
If you have more than the allowable amount of non-exempt assets, there are ways to protect those assets while still obtaining Medicaid Long-Term Care benefits. To reduce countable resources, you may purchase exempt resources or exhaust those resources on appropriate “spend down” items. A few appropriate “spend down” items are:

  • Costs for professional services, such as lawyer’s fees and accountant’s fees.
  • Costs of repairs to your home.
  • The purchase of certain personal property items.
  • The purchase of a special kind of Medicaid friendly Annuity.

If you are considering how to properly “spend down” non-exempt assets, it is critical that you consult with an Elder Law Attorney. Medicaid eligibility, including the resource eligibility test, is a highly complex area of law.
If you live in the Spokane or Tri-Cities area, let us help you explore the Medicaid Asset Preservation StrategyTM that is appropriate for you. A solid plan can help you avoid unnecessarily depleting your family’s assets.
At Elder Law Group PLLC, we help our clients protect assets, obtain Medicaid benefits, and create necessary Estate Planning documents. As skilled asset protection lawyers, we will give you legal advice on the best options available to meet your objectives and protect the assets you have accrued over a lifetime. We invite you to learn more about our team here, and read what our clients have to say about us here.
Contact us or call (509) 468-0551 (Spokane office), or (509) 579-0206 (Tri-Cities office), for personal, compassionate guidance on long-term care, asset protection, and Estate Planning.