The costs of nursing home care are extremely high, and it can be difficult to finance nursing home care for a spouse for any length of time. As a result, many individuals who are entering nursing homes look to Medicaid for financial assistance with the costs of their care. In order to qualify for Medicaid, however, both income and  resources must fall within certain limits set forth by law. In terms of the income limit, your monthly income, whether from pensions, VA benefits, or Social Security benefits, must be less than the rate for nursing home care, plus your monthly medical expenses. For most people, their income falls far short of nursing home monthly expenses.
The biggest concern for many people in qualifying for Medicaid is the Medicaid resource limit, particularly if one spouse will be residing in a nursing home and the other spouse will still be living at home. When your spouse applies for Medicaid, eligibility is based on the total amount of resources that both you and your spouse own. The spouse entering the nursing home has a $2,000 resource limit and the spouse remaining at home has a “Community Spouse Resource Allowance” (CSRA), which is at least $54,726. There are some exceptions to this limit; in some situations, the CSRA can be even more.
Plus, some resources are exempt, which means that that they don’t count toward the resource limit for Medicaid. Exempt resources include your personal property, such as clothing and furnishings, a car that you need for transportation, life insurance policies valued at $1,500 or less, most burial plots, and, most importantly, your home. As a general rule, your home is exempt for the purposes of Medicaid resource limits so long as your spouse remains living in the home, and you intend to return to the home, even if it seems unlikely that you will ever return home.
The financing of nursing home care or another form of Long-Term Care is a serious issue that families and individuals should plan for well in advance of need. Rather than waiting until an emergency or sudden event occurs that necessitates a hurried decision, take the time to plan for the future and work out how you will handle these crucial matters before they occur. At Elder Law Group PLLC we are experienced in all government Long-Term Care benefit programs and have helped countless families obtain benefits to pay for Long-Term Care. Contact Elder Law Group today at 509.468.0551 to set up an appointment with one of our Washington nursing home planning attorneys, and discover how we can help you through this stage of your life.