The Minimum Monthly Needs Allowance for Nursing Home Medicaid

The Minimum Monthly Needs Allowance (or MMNA) is a critical term that you will need to be familiar with and understand if your spouse needs Texas nursing home care. If the applicant for Texas Medicaid benefits is not married, then the MMNA will not be involved.

The Minimum Monthly Needs Allowance (MMNA) refers to the monthly income that the community spouse is allowed to retain while a spouse living in a nursing home can qualify for Texas Medicaid benefits. The “community spouse” refers to the spouse remaining in the home that is not receiving Texas Medicaid benefits.

The starting point to determine the MMNA is a minimum MMNA adjusted annually. For fiscal year 2017 the minimum MMNA is $3,022.50 per month.

This starting point is then adjusted by a separate calculation to determine the excess shelter allowance. The excess shelter allowance totals the following expenses:

  • Rent, mortgage, or condo fees for a primary residence;
  • Property taxes;
  • Homeowner’s insurance; and
  • Standard utility allowance.

From the total of those expenses, the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services subtracts a predetermined standard shelter allowance. This is currently $609.00. The remaining balance is then added to the minimum MMNA ($3,022.50) to determine the community spouse’s actual Minimum Monthly Needs Allowance.

It is important to undersand the Case Worker does not have authority to approve an actual MMNA that exceeds $3,022.50(adjusted annually). If your actual MMNA exceeds the maximum a case worker is allowed to approve, you should consider appealing to a Fair Hearing with your Houston Medicaid Attorney to protect your maximum income.

Why is this important? The MMNA plays a significant role in determining what assets and income the community spouse will be allowed to retain in order to create sufficient income to achieve his or her Minimum Monthly Needs Allowance. The MMNA is one of the items you will focus on if your spouse needs to qualify for Texas Medicaid. Your Texas Medicaid Attorney can protect your rights. With the wrong MMNA, you are leaving precious income and assets on the table.

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