The Livens Law Firm

Long-term care planning can protect more assets of a spouse

Medicaid is generally recognized in Texas and all other states as the publicly-funded program that is available to help pay for the escalating costs of nursing home and other residential care in a person's old age. Medicaid exists on a combination of funding from federal and state sources. For a person to be qualified to receive Medicaid assistance for home care or nursing home costs, there are certain qualifying rules to meet. These rules and other considerations may be the subject of a beneficial long\-term care plan that a person or married couple may obtain through consultation with their elder law attorney.

Under current rules, a single applicant asking for home expenses must have $14,850 maximum in assets and no more than $845 in monthly income. For a person needing nursing home funding, the $14,850 maximum in assets also applies. For married couples, when one spouse needs a nursing home, the community spouse may have about $120,000 maximum in assets. Retirement funds in recognized federal depository accounts are exempt from the long-term care requirements.

A community spouse may have up to $3,022.50 per month in income. The rules are thus seen to be complex and changing often, depending on the family circumstances. There are also certain exceptions, exemptions and techniques to employ that will be legal and will result in asset savings for an individual or a married couple.

There are a couple of techniques that allow the spouses or individuals to retain more assets than normally allowed. A Medicaid Asset Protection Trust may also be created through long-term care planning to protect one's assets. An individual or married couple wishing to do the prudent thing and plan ahead under Texas and federal law will be best served by meeting with an experienced elder law attorney.

Source: recordonline.com, "Rules differ for community, nursing home Medicaid", Bonnie Kraham, Jan. 18, 2017

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