I'll start by mentioning that this is likely the number one concern of all people who consult with me about an elder law or Medicaid planning issue. In fact, you can do this long before you think your loved one might ever end up in a nursing home. When assessing a loved one’s need for a nursing home, consider the amount of autonomy your loved one is able to perform. His first bit of luck was to be adopted by Susan and Phil Glassner of Norfolk. This holds true regardless of the equity value in your home. The information in this newsletter may be copied and distributed, without charge and without permission, but with appropriate citation to Hook Law Center, P.C. He’s had quite a lucky life in some respects, and unlucky in others. If one spouse is in the facility while the other remains in the home, the spouse in the nursing home may transfer a substantial amount of money and assets to the spouse who is still living in the community, and generally there are ways to protect the home as well. Myth – We have too much money for Medicaid. It’s the last day of the month immediately prior to either spouse’s first “period of institutionalization” lasting 30 days or more. The tough analysis associated with these transfers include whether someone has the legal authority to transfer assets to the community spouse (via a power of attorney or conservatorship that expressly permits such gifts) and what tax implications, if any, would result in such a transfer. Kit Kat:  Well, this is a wonderful story. The balance of $349 ($1,800 - $1,451) will have to be paid to the nursing home. It’s a difficult time. Both are short of the cost of assisted living. The CSRA amount, which the healthy spouse can keep by law, is one-half of the countable assets up … Another option is “Spousal Refusal,” which allows the Community Spouse to retain all of the assets without filing for divorce. However, dealing with a missing foot was causing stress on his hips and spine. That’s because the healthy spouse can “convert” countable assets to a “stream of income” that would allow Mary to keep all of her income, and nearly all of the assets. Most people know that in order to qualify for Medicaid coverage of a long-term stay in a nursing home, the nursing home resident cannot own more than $2,000 in cash or other "countable" assets. Protecting Assets When A Spouse Enters A Nursing Home As an Elder Law attorney, I often see the devastating toll the cost of nursing care can have on a married couple’s assets. The planning, as previously mentioned, requires the conversion of countable resources to non-countable resources or a new income stream and does not require the impoverishment of the community spouse. It was an incredible feat of timing! The engineering students at ECPI’s Richmond campus needed a project for their senior capstone class. The fact remains, that while the house may need to be sold or when the house sells, Medicaid may be entitled to some of the proceeds, Medicaid does not actually take the home. In this case, if your income allowance is $2,500 a month, you will be able to keep $1,451 ($2,500 - $1,049) of your husband’s income each month. Hook Law Center encourages you to share this newsletter with anyone who is interested in issues pertaining to the elderly, the disabled and their advocates. For couples with one spouse in a nursing home, your family’s future depends on these 4 letters: “CSRA.” That stands for the Community Spouse Resource Allowance. The institutionalized spouse can also deem money over to the community spouse up to around $2800 a month. When your spouse enters a nursing home that is paid for by Medicaid, he or she is only able to keep a small part of their monthly income. If they have $250,000, the healthy spouse only can keep the $119,220. These rules are commonly known as the spousal impoverishment rules. The countable assets of the couple above the community spouse resource allowance must then be “spent down.” A spend down, to an elder law attorney, merely means the conversion of a countable resource to either a non-countable resource or a new income stream, and does not necessarily mean that money needs to be spent. Even it's another 10 years until your spouse goes into a nursing home, Medicaid will still need to establish the assets owned as of the time 10 years earlier when the CPI was first established. It’s one of the hardest decisions to make about a loved one’s care, and it can be emotionally difficult for everyone involved. He loved his new home, and the other two dogs who already lived with the Glassners. (336) 378-1122. Hardly enough when the average cost of nursing homes is over $6,000 per month, depending on where you live. Local Elder Law Attorneys in … and apply again later after you’ve spent much of your hard-earned retirement assets. There is hope…and it’s not too late if you get the right advice. It also allows that same individual to qualify for Medical Assistance or Medicaid. Currently, the community spouse resource allowance is 50% of the total countable resources of the couple up to $120,900, with a floor set at $24,180. North Carolina Elder Law Attorney: What are the Warning Signs of Dementia? The new leg is supported by a harness and wheel combination that allows Ray Ray to make turns. Go Verified by ... could best be addressed by transferring her to a nursing home. For married couples, when only one spouse requires nursing home care, the couple can typically save most if not all of their life savings while still qualifying the resident for Medicaid. Myth – Medicaid is going to take my house. The students had to be quite creative, because the leg had to be made of certain materials which Ray Ray would not destroy by chewing. If you purchase an annuity and payments go to the spouse who then needs to go into the nursing home – that’s a problem. While it would be nearly impossible to debunk all the myths pertaining to Medicaid we address, there are a few common ones that we at the Hook Law Center see most often. 1Rarefind- Medicaid law states that the community spouse can keep all of their own individual assets and 1/2 of the jointly held assets up to about 119,000$. Our business is deemed an Essential Business and as such will remain open to service clients in this critical time. It’s the amount of money that a healthy spouse can keep and still qualify the ill spouse for Medicaid in the nursing home. To do so, Ray Ray had to move from North Carolina where he had been taken in by a rescue group. As a result, you should consult an experienced elder law attorney to develop a plan that will work for you. (Robyn Sidersky, “ECPI students accomplish a real feat, and an amputee dogs gets a prosthetic limb,” The Virginian-Pilot, November 3, 2017, pg. Naming you as the life tenant and … As an Elder Law attorney, I often see the devastating toll the cost of nursing care can have on a married couple’s assets. A nursing home reviews all of an elderly person’s assets – and if married, the spouse’s assets – to determine what to use to pay for Long-Term Care before it applies for Medicaid. In addition, one may serve as an advocate for an individual in a nursing home. Then came his second piece of good luck. Myth – I can’t gift money to my spouse because of the 5-year look-back period. The Hook Law Center (formerly Oast & Hook) offices are located in Virginia Beach, and Suffolk, convenient to the Peninsula, and Southside including the cities of Chesapeake, the Eastern Shore, Franklin, Hampton, Isle of Wight, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Richmond, Smithfield, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, Williamsburg, Yorktown and Zuni. The CSRA amount, which the healthy spouse can keep by law, is one-half of the countable assets up to a maximum number set each year. When Your Spouse is In the Nursing Home, Get Better Results with the Right Actions and Advice  When your spouse is in the nursing home in Greensboro, NC or the surrounding areas, don’t expect the Medicaid Office to tell you how to protect yourself. Don’t “spend down” like the Medicaid Office tells you to do. So thanks to ECPI students, who used their ingenuity and technical smarts, Ray Ray is enjoying life once more as a four-legged canine! Now comes the lucky part. Ouch! We’ve published other relevant articles that readers may want to review prior to this one, specifically on Medicaid eligibility for nursing home care and how much … Myth – They only look at one spouse’s assets when determining eligibility. For example, if the couple has $150,000, the healthy spouse can keep $75,000. When calculating CSRA you must know the “snapshot date,” which is the date that CSRA is calculated. The short answer is yes, they will lose most of their income. North Carolina Will and Estate Attorney Says, “When It Comes to Cryptocurrency, Estate Planning Is a Must!”, ← Review Your Insurance Needs When You Retire, Protect Yourself and Your Family through Smart Estate Planning →. When your spouse is in the nursing home, you feel your world crashing down. This is called a Personal Needs Allowance (PNA). It is normal to have a mix of emotions when caregivers determine a nursing home is the next step for their loved one. Typically, clients, facing the situation of a spouse being admitted to a nursing home with assets greatly in excess of the CSRA, may consider a divorce in order to protect his/her assets. In the case of a single individual, usually around half of his or her savings can be preserved while qualifying for Medicaid. A married couple can have $126,420 thanks to the community spouse resource allowance. The right annuity can preserve funds for the well spouse, while allowing the other spouse to be eligible for Medicaid Long-Term Care benefits without spending down those excess assets. Clearly, take action or it can become TOO LATE! That led to other problems like gait and stress issues on his remaining legs. For Mary in our example, that’s the difference between protecting nearly all of her and Bob’s retirement savings, or being broke the rest of her life. This can be a key tool for evaluation. Content by elder law attorney, Andrew Hook and the Hook Law Center staff. All Rights Reserved. I immediately broke into tears and ... know is against the wishes of your loved one. The balance of his income, less a small personal needs allowance, must be paid to the facility. We are a member of the Special Needs Alliance (SNA), a by invitation only national network of attorneys serving disabled persons and their families. If one spouse goes into a nursing care, for the purposes of Medicaid, the individual going into care can only have $2000 in non-exempt assets and the spouse remaining at home can keep half of the overall assets. For more on Medicaid's income protections for the healthy spouse, click here. subject to a minimum and maximum that is set by each state Medicaid agency Hook Law Center:  Kit Kat, what can you tell us about ECPI helping a 3-legged dog walk again? In fact, I’ve even written you an excused “Late Pass” so you won’t feel tardy! With proper planning, most couples can protect their assets and qualify as an institutionalized spouse for Medicaid.