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Will Medicaid Require Funds in a Wife's IRA to Be Spent Down?

  • August 27th, 2014
My sister-in-law has a considerable amount in her IRA. Her husband is in an assisted living facility and she is concerned that he will ultimately require a nursing home. Her main concern is that the state will take away her funds from the IRA if her husband applies for Medicaid. The IRA is only in her name. Can the state attach her money in the IRA? 

First, I may be a stickler, but I’d like to clarify that the state doesn’t “take” anything. It simply doesn’t pay for nursing home care until the resident qualifies for Medicaid which can involve spending down assets. That said, your sister needs to consult with a local elder law attorney. States differ in their treatment of IRAs and, even if the money does have to be spent down, there are many strategies for protecting the assets of spouses of nursing home residents. (Fortunately, the IRA is in her name and not her husband’s.)

For more on how IRAs affect Medicaid eligibility, click here.

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Hale Ball Carlson Baumgartner Murphy PLC
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For more on Medicaid's protections for the healthy spouse, click here

Last Modified: 08/27/2014

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