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Hooper Law Office,LLC Estate Planning Blog

Monday, August 25, 2014

How do I qualify for Medicaid?

To qualify for Medicaid, a person must meet two primary economic criteria.   The first criterion is income; a resident in a nursing home that is seeking to qualify for Medicaid is expected to contribute a portion of his or her income to the cost of care.  The Medicaid recipient is allowed to keep a small amount of their monthly income for personal needs.  Currently this amount is $45.  The balance of their monthly income is paid to the nursing home for cost of care.  Medicaid will pay the remaining cost.

For nursing home patients with spouses living at home, income is handled differently.  In Wisconsin, the spouse at home is not required to contribute any of his or her own income to the cost of care of the nursing home spouse.  Additionally, if the spouse at home has little or no income, he or she can take some income from the nursing home spouse to supplement their own income. 

The second economic criterion is assets.  A person residing in a nursing home must spend down their cash assets to a very low level.  The spend-down target for a single person is $2,000.  For married couples, the asset target is more complex.  The spouse that remains in the home is allowed to keep a larger percentage of the family's cash assets.   See your estate and Medicaid planning attorney for a review and complete explanation of these complex rules.


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