Understanding Medicaid Home and Community Services: A Primer, 2010 Edition. Income Protection

10/29/2010

Income is protected for the spouse after the person needing long-term care has been determined eligible for Medicaid. The minimum monthly protected spousal income amount is $1,821 in the year 2010 (see Table 2-1). Additional amounts, up to a maximum of $2,739, are protected if the spouse has unusually high housing costs or if the state has chosen to protect more than the mini-mum amount for all spouses. If income belonging to the spouse is less than the protected level, the Medicaid beneficiary can transfer his or her own income to the spouse to make up the shortfall. States count any remaining income of the Medicaid beneficiary, less the allowance for the spouse, in calculating the share of the Medicaid service costs for which the beneficiary is responsible.

TABLE 2-1. Examples of Spousal Income Protection
Assume the minimum protection allowance ($1,821) applies
Example 1:
   Beneficiary’s income
   Spouse’s income
   Beneficiary income protected for spouse
   Beneficiary income for calculating share-of-cost obligation  

$2,000
None
$1,821
  $179 ($2,000 – $1,821)  
Example 2:
   Beneficiary’s income
   Spouse’s income
   Beneficiary income protected for spouse
   Beneficiary income for calculating share-of-cost obligation

$2,000
$1,000
$821 ($1,821 – $1,000)
$1,179 ($2,000 – $821)
Example 3:
   Beneficiary’s income
   Spouse’s income
   Beneficiary income protected for spouse
   Beneficiary income for calculating share-of-cost obligation

$2,000
$2,000
None
$2,000

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