For a married couple applying for Medicaid, there are bound to be concerns regarding income and particularly how much income the community spouse (the one who isn’t in the nursing home) gets to keep. In Illinois, the base number is a set number that applies in all situations and that is $2,739. In Missouri, however, it can vary between a minimum of $2,030 and a maximum of $3,090. (May 2018 figures)
This raises a couple of questions.
- What if the community spouse has less income than the rules would allow them to have?
- What if the community spouse has more income than those numbers?
In both cases, the answers aren’t as obvious as these figures imply. There are wonderful planning opportunities here to help protect assets from long-term care costs when one spouse is in a nursing home.
In this Elder Law Minute, Wes Coulson, O’Fallon Illinois Elder Law attorney, discusses another topic from the video series Married Couples and Medicaid and explains how much income the community spouse is entitled to keep.
Married Couples and Medicaid: How Much Income Can the Community Spouse Have?
Hi, I’m Wes Coulson and this is your Elder Law Minute. This is another in our series of videos on how the Medicaid rules apply in the case of a married couple. Let’s talk today about income and particularly how much income the community spouse, the one who isn’t in the nursing home, gets to keep.
In Illinois, the base number is a set number that applies in all situations – $2,739. In Missouri, it can vary between a minimum of $2,030 and a maximum of $3,090 depending on shelter expenses and some other things. By the way, these are May 2018 numbers, if you’re listening to this later they may have changed.
Now, a couple of questions there. What if the community spouse has less income than the rules would allow them to have? Well, in that case, part of the income of the spouse in the nursing home gets diverted over to the community spouse, meaning there is less income that needs to be contributed toward nursing home costs.
On the other hand, what if the community spouse has more income than those numbers? Well, oddly enough, that doesn’t mean that they need to contribute that excess income toward the cost of the care in the nursing home. In fact, in Missouri, that community spouse gets to keep all of that spouse’s separate income. In Illinois, under the rules, that spouse gets to keep the great majority of that separate income. This happens to be one of the keys as to how we can, oddly enough, help people protect assets from long-term care costs when one spouse is in a nursing home.
Wonderful planning opportunities here, something that we can really help you with and it will make a world of difference. Give us a call, we can help. Thanks.
For more information on planning for married couples, visit these articles:
- Married Couples and Medicaid: How Much Assets Can the Community Spouse Keep?
- Will Transferring Assets Between Spouses Cause A Medicaid Transfer Penalty?
- What’s the Difference Between Estate Planning and Asset Preservation Planning?
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Coulson Elder Law is dedicated to providing families in the St. Louis area with their Elder Law needs. Our practice areas include Asset Preservation Planning, Veterans Benefits, Medicaid Eligibility, Alzheimer’s Planning, Special Needs Planning, Estate Planning and more. We understand the financial challenges you may face as you and your loved ones grow older. At Coulson Elder Law, our clients’ well-being is our number one priority. For immediate help, call (618) 632-7000 or (314) 567-9292, or Contact Us and we will get in touch as soon as possible.