When a person qualifies for Texas nursing home Medicaid their income must be spent in compliance with the rules for maintaining Texas Medicaid every month. Failure to follow those rules in one or more months can result in losing benefits. If you, acting under a Power of Attorney or Guardianship, spend a Medicaid Applicant’s income without following the rules you risk their being ineligible for Medicaid for any number of months as well as potential liability for those uncovered nursing home costs. Understanding the rules for how to handle the Medicaid Applicant’s income is also important when planning for a spouse at home or ongoing expenses associated with exempt assets.
The Medicaid Applicant’s Income
The person receiving Medicaid benefits must pay all of their income to the nursing home as a co-payment to help pay for their nursing home care except for 3 specific and limited deductions:
1 – the Medicaid recipient is allowed a personal needs allowance set by the HHSC every year. As of this post the amount is $60 per month;
2 – medical expenses that are not covered by Medicaid such as Medicare premiums and other medical insurance premiums;
3 – if the Medicaid recipient is married and his or her spouse’s income is below the minimum limits allowed by the Medicaid program, then a portion or all of the Medicaid recipient’s income can be diverted to the spouse.
Any expense that does not fall into that category cannot be paid from the Medicaid recipient’s income. Some of the most common items people ask me about are life insurance premiums and utility bills for a residence that we protected. Unfortunately those expenses cannot be paid from a Medicaid recipient’s income. They can be paid from whatever cash assets they have left within the Medicaid eligibility limits, but these expenses will not be deducted from the monthly co-payment that must be made to the nursing home.
In some situations there may be other strategies available to pay some expenses such as property taxes which we can evaluate when The Shea Law Firm is working with your family to obtain Medicaid benefits.
The Medicaid Applicant’s Spouse’s Income
Unfortunately with all the misinformation out there some people are scared into thinking that their own income is a factor or will be reduced if their spouse were to apply for Medicaid benefits. I am happy to say that the truth is much better. Income that you receive through Social Security, a pension, or even a job is not a factor in your spouse’s eligibility for Texas Medicaid nursing home benefits. Similarly, you will also be able to keep your income without any reduction or interference by the government when your spouse establishes Medicaid eligibility.
Don’t Pay One More Month of Nursing Home Bills Than You Have To!
Put the power of the over 10 years experience I have helping families stop paying out of control nursing home bills by qualifying for Medicaid benefits to work for you. Simply fill out the contact form to the right of the screen or give me a call at (832) 592-7913 if you need help qualifying your loved one for Texas Medicaid benefits. Every month you wait to establish Medicaid eligibility is another month’s worth of expenses you won’t be able to get back.