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BLOG for September 2, 2015
John and Linda are a married couple. John had a stroke and needs the skilled care of a nursing home. Their assets consist of a home, a vehicle and a $50,000 savings account. Linda is afraid that she will have to sell her home and use up her savings account to pay the nursing home.
How can John get the skilled care he needs without causing Linda to sell their home and use up their savings account?
John can apply for Medicaid benefits to pay the nursing home. They can claim their home and vehicle as exempt assets and seek to apply the spousal impoverishment rules to shield their saving account.
Nursing home care costs $5,000-$8,000 / month or more; and this can quickly deplete a lifetime of savings. In 1988 Congress enacted provisions to prevent what has become called “spousal impoverishment”. Under Medicaid spousal impoverishment provisions, a certain amount of the couple’s combined resources is protected for the spouse living in the community. Also, 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