How will you be able to survive if your spouse needs expensive nursing home care? I hear this question a lot from families facing an unexpected nursing home placement. Unfortunately some families that contact me have already spent more of their own funds than they need to before qualifying for Texas Medicaid nursing home benefits. For the families that contact me early enough to protect assets for the healthy spouse or parent the process all begins with something called the “Spousal Assessment.”
The Spousal Assessment for Texas Medicaid is rather straightforward. It is a snapshot of a married couple’s combined countable resources. This snapshot is the starting point for determining the amount of assets the spouse at home will be able to keep while the spouse in the nursing home pursues Medicaid eligibility. The Spousal Protected Resource Amount is later determined from this initial assessment which many people do not even understand is taking place behind the scenes.
When Can You Initiate a Spousal Assessment
The request and assessment may be made any time from the beginning of the continuous period in an institutional setting to the date of application for Medicaid. Ordinarily this is handled by the Woodlands Medicaid Attorney handling the application for the family.
If you do not have a Woodlands Medicaid Attorney representing you then the couple must provide information on their resources and verification as required by HHSC. If the couple does not provide the verification within the time frame requested by HHSC, HHSC does not complete the assessment and takes no further action = no Medicaid benefits.
When is the Assessment Date
The couple’s combined countable resources are assessed as of 12:01 a.m. on the first day of the month in which the first continuous period in an institutional setting began. When determining the first day of the month in an institutional setting for the Spousal Protected Resource Amount, HHSC may count days the person spent in a hospital if the person admits directly from the hospital to an institutional setting. After the continuous period begins, hospital stays and therapeutic home visits are not considered as breaks in the 30-consecutive-day period.
Are You Giving Away Assets You Can Keep?
The Spousal Assessment procedure is a reminder of how important it is to understand the legal rights you have when faced with a nursing home situation. As I mentioned at the beginning, some families do not contact me until it is too late and they have already spent more than they need to. In situations like that, the family voluntarily gave up assets the healthy spouse was entitled to and it can make surviving that much more difficult for the healthy spouse when they are left with less assets than the law allowed them to keep. Don’t make the same mistake. Speak with a Texas Medicaid Attorney today to protect your rights and property.
TexasTitle19.com is your connection to an experienced Houston Medicaid Attorney who can help you find the right nursing home, get the best care, and pay for it all without going broke. We are currently focused on Harris and Montgomery Counties, including the areas of Houston, Conroe, The Woodlands, Spring, Tomball, Humble, and Katy. We also provide consulting services throughout all of Texas.