2020 Nursing Home Medicaid Income and Asset Rules

By Richard Shea

March 17, 2020

community spouse, Eligibility, homestead, income, resources

Every year ​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 and even more of a hassle.

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 2020 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 $3,160.00 to $3,216.00 beginning January 1, 2020. This allows a healthy spouse at home to increase their monthly income in some cases. We can do this by diverting an extra $56.00 per month from the nursing home spouse’s income to themselves. That is $672 per year, and in situations like these every little bit helps. The increase in the MMNA also allows some couples to keep more assets in certain low income cases.

The Applicant's Income Limit

The second change is an increase in the Medicaid Applicant's gross monthly income limit. In 2019 a Medicaid applicant was only allowed to have $2,313 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, 2020, a nursing home resident will be allowed to have $2,349 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 2020 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 is currently ​$25,728​. This ​means the spouse can keep a minimum of ​$25,728 if the couple’s total combined resources ​exceed $25,728. If your total combined counted resources exceed $25,728 then your protected amount using the government’s rules is 50% of your assets, but no less than $25,728. For exmaple, If you have $50,000 in resources, the spouse would keep $25,728 but the rest of your life savings would face the spend-down. If you want to avoid the spend-down and protect more than 50%, we can show you how.

The Maximum Spousal Share

The maximum Community Spousal Protected Amount increased from $126,420 to $128,640. Just as with the minimum, this does not mean that the spouse of a nursing home Medicaid applicant can keep $128,640. Remember it only means the spouse can keep $128,640 if the couple’s total combined counted resources are worth $257,280 or more. In that situation the spouse could keep $128,640, the spouse in the nursing home could keep $2,000, and the rest ($126,640) 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 1.7% in going from $585,000.00 to the new limit of $595,000.

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 $213.73 every day (or $6,500+ every month). Remember, only you can protect your rights and property. Call The Shea Law Firm at (832) 592-7913 to get started today.

Richard Shea

About the author

I am a Texas licensed attorney with over 15 years of experience helping families qualify for nursing home Medicaid and protect their assets from devastating nursing home bills. I have protected over $1 million for my clients, let's see what I can do for you. I write everything on this site so if you have a question or comment feel free to send me a message through here, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

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