Welcome back to the 2018 edition of TexasTitle19.com. It is that time of year again. January 1st is when the government changes certain numbers that determine eligibility for Texas nursing home and long term care Medicaid benefits. If you are looking for long term care Medicaid, then you better know the current numbers. Any mistake can cost you a lot of money.
There is one set of numbers that impact a Medicaid applicant’s (or their spouse’s) income. There is a different set of numbers that impact the Medicaid applicant’s (or their spouse’s) assets. We are going to cover everything in play for 2018 here.
The Minimum Monthly Needs for a Spouse
The first change is an increase in the minimum monthly needs allowance. The government increased it from the previous limit of $3,022.50 to $3,090.00 beginning January 1, 2018. This allows a healthy spouse at home to increase their monthly income in some cases. We can do this by diverting an extra $67.50 per month from the nursing home spouse’s income to themselves. That is just over $800 per year, and in situations like these every little bit helps.
The Applicant's Income Limit
The second change is an increase in the Medicaid Applicant's gross monthly income limit. In 2017 a Medicaid applicant was only allowed to have $2,205 per month in gross monthly income (using the government’s definition of “income” which may be a little different from what most people consider to be “income”). Beginning January 1, 2018, a nursing home resident will be allowed to have $2,250 per month in gross monthly “income”.
If your loved one is over that eligibility limit you can still create Medicaid eligibility with a 100% guaranteed Miller Trust from The Shea Law Firm. If your loved one is over the income limit and they do not have a properly created and administered Miller Trust then you are facing ineligibility for Medicaid benefits.
Medicaid and Assets
Now we are going to talk about assets. For 2018 there were small increases in the substantial home equity limit, the minimum Community Spousal Protected Amount, and the maximum Community Spousal Protected Amount. The resource limit for the Medicaid applicant remained the same.
The Individual and Couple Asset Limits
The resource limit for a Medicaid applicant remains $2,000 for an un-married individual or a married applicant with a healthy spouse at home.
The Minimum Spousal Share
The minimum Community Spousal Protected Amount increased from $24,180 in 2017 to the new limit of $24,720. This does not mean that the spouse of a nursing home Medicaid applicant can automatically keep $24,720. Remember it only means the spouse can keep up to $24,720 if the couple’s total combined resources do not exceed $24,720. If your total combined counted resources exceed $24,720 then your protected amount using the government’s rules is 50% of your assets, but no less than $24,720. If you want to protect more than 50%, we can show you how.
The Maximum Spousal Share
The maximum Community Spousal Protected Amount increased from $120,900 to $123,600. Just as with the minimum, this does not mean that the spouse of a nursing home Medicaid applicant can keep $123,600. Remember it only means the spouse can keep $123,600 if the couple’s total combined counted resources are worth $247,200 or more. In that situation the spouse could keep $123,600, the spouse in the nursing home could keep $2,000, and the rest ($121,600) would have to be spent down in ways that do not result in a penalty.
These are the default rules that the government uses when a family does not have a Woodlands Medicaid attorney to protect everything they can protect under the law. If you have a spouse or family member in a nursing home and would like to protect more than the default rules provide then get started today by giving me a call at (832) 592-7913.
What About Your Home?
The substantial home equity limit increased a little more than 2.1% in going from $560,000.00 to the new limit of $572,000.
There are specific rules for protecting Texas homesteads which are too complex to go into detail in this article. However, a Medicaid applicant’s residential homestead in Texas may be protected while they are alive if certain conditions are met, but what about the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program after the Medicaid applicant passes away? An experienced Woodlands Medicaid Attorney can help you protect your home, both while you are alive as well as preserve its value for your heirs. For additional information, read about our Texas Medicaid Home Protection program.
How Does this Impact Your Family?
If your loved one’s assets exceed the values listed above do not give up. I can help you establish Medicaid eligibility through proven techniques while protecting everything your family is entitled to protect. Act now to secure Medicaid eligibility and eliminate the uncertainty and restless nights wondering who will pay the nursing home costs of more than $172 every day (or $5,231+ every month). Remember, only you can protect your rights and property. Call The Shea Law Firm at (832) 592-7913 to get started today.