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If My Husband Enters a Nursing Home, Can I Keep Some of His Income to Meet My Own Expenses?

  • February 9th, 2015
My husband suffers from dementia. He is currently on Medicaid and Medicare and receives $1,800 a month in disability payments. I retired at 62 to take care of him and receive $1,049 a month. He is now in Stage 3 renal failure and will probably need nursing home care in the next year or so. I have two questions: 1) If the nursing home cost exceeds his disability, will I be liable for the difference? and 2) Will I be able to retain any of his disability in order to meet my living expenses? 

If Medicaid pays for your husband’s care in the nursing home, you will not have to contribute anything from your income towards his cost of care. You will also be entitled to keep a portion of his income. Medicaid will use a formula to determine your income needs. The calculation includes your housing costs but no other actual expenses.

If, for instance, Medicaid determines that you need $2,500 a month to live on, it will subtract your income from this amount to determine how much of your husband’s income you may keep. 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. The balance of $349 ($1,800 - $1,451) will have to be paid to the nursing home. (Remember, these are all approximate numbers.)  

Local Elder Law Attorneys in Ashburn, VA

Jean Ball

Hale Ball Carlson Baumgartner Murphy PLC
Fairfax, VA

Jeffrey Hammond

Hammond and Associates, LLC, Elder Law, Estate Planning, Wills, Trusts, Probate
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William Fralin

The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm PC
Bethesda, MD

For more on this income allowance for spouses of nursing home residents who do not have enough to live on, click here.

For more on this and other Medicaid protections for the healthy spouse, click here.


Last Modified: 02/09/2015

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