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What is the Medicaid spousal impoverishment provision?

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What is the Medicaid spousal impoverishment provision?

On Behalf of | May 22, 2020 | Elder Law

You may face the difficult decision to place your spouse in a nursing home. It might seem like the best way for your spouse to receive the care that he or she needs. However, you also recognize that nursing homes can be expensive, and if you have spent your assets down to receive Medicaid, paying for a nursing home could drain your finances before long.

This problem is why federal law has established a spousal impoverishment provision as part of Medicaid. The Medicaid website explains that Congress set up the spousal impoverishment provision in 1988 to help prevent nursing home costs from impoverishing individuals who place their spouses in nursing homes.

Helping spouses

The problem at hand for some spouses is because they had to reduce their assets for their spouse to receive Medicaid, they cannot afford critical life payments. They cannot make payments on a home or pay for food or other necessary resources because so much of their money goes to nursing home or other long term care costs for a spouse.

Fortunately, Medicaid spousal impoverishment provisions allow you to protect a portion of your income. If eligible, Medicaid allows for a couple in which one spouse is in a nursing home or other institution to calculate a portion of their income to set aside for certain costs. The spouse who still lives at home can receive an allowance for home and other expenses not related to nursing home care.

Helping other family members

Additionally, Medicaid’s provision also extends to providing for other members of a household. You might have another relative living with you, such as a child. One of the allowances Medicaid permits is a family monthly income allowance if a household includes more than yourself. These measures may help protect you and your loved ones from suffering poverty because of nursing home costs.