We’re back in the car again on our Medicaid road trip. The unexpected and treacherous weather in the U.S. during the past week has certainly slowed us down. It is similar to working through the Medicaid process. Sometimes it is a smooth road and other times there are obstacles and surprises.
Last week we talked about qualifying for Medicaid if you are a single person. During our ride today, we will concentrate on some of the main concerns of Medicaid for married couples as it can be complex due to different health concerns and income and assets for each spouse.
The Fear of Spousal Impoverishment
We hear about this situation frequently: “I won’t have any money to live on if my husband gets on Medicaid”. Or “my spouse has just transitioned from rehab to long-term care at a nursing home. The business office is talking to me about Medicaid, but I’m scared that I will have no money to live on if he gets on Medicaid. Maybe I should just bring him home.”
Many spouses fear they will have no money to live on if they apply for Medicaid for nursing home care for their ill spouse. In many ways, Medicaid laws are more generous for those with a spouse still at home. In general, the rules usually allow a married individual to get on Medicaid without spending all of his/her assets and income. Let us put your mind at ease. Working with families to get the best possible care for their loved ones while determining the options to pay for care is the hallmark of our practice.
Good news for married couples
In an effort to protect the well spouse, Georgia laws and regulations apply enhanced asset limits, allow for spousal income diversions, and delay Medicaid estate recovery for married couples when one spouse is in the nursing home. Medicaid does not want the well spouse to be impoverished by his/her ill spouse’s nursing home costs.
We could spend the next few hours (or days) explaining Medicaid rules and planning techniques for couples, such as transfers between spouses, burial exemptions, life insurance, retirement distributions, QITs (Miller Trusts), spousal Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance, spouses who still work, ownership of multiple properties, rental income, and more. All of these topics are different for each family and situation and should be carefully considered as part of your Medicaid plan.
Protecting assets for married couples
Since we want you to keep your eyes on the road as you are about to take over the wheel, we will conclude our discussion by telling you when we are assisting with Medicaid planning for a married couple, we can often save 100% of the assets (above and beyond what Medicaid allows) and most of the income. Our clients regularly share their experiences in their Google reviews which demonstrates how it is extremely beneficial to leave Medicaid and elder law planning to the experts at Hurley Elder Care Law.
Next week you will want to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as we will be discussing what is on most couple’s minds: estate recovery. The beloved home is often at the center of our conversations and we will make sure to answer these important questions. Have a great week and enjoy the beautiful scenery as you continue your drive. Be safe!