The resource amount protected for the spouse is determined as part of the process of determining Medicaid eligibility of the person needing services. Countable resources belonging to either or both spouses are combined and divided in half. The amount protected for the spouse is either that half, or the level the state has chosen to protect, whichever is higher. In 2010, the amount protected is subject to a Federal minimum ($21,912) and maximum ($109,560).
Any resources not protected for the spouse are considered available to the person needing care, who is not eligible until such resources are within Medicaid eligibility limits.
Examples of Spousal Resource Protection
Minimum and maximum amounts of both income and resources increase every year based on the cost-of-living increase as published by the Department of Health and Human Services. In addition, Federal law requires states to have administrative and judicial procedures in place that allow petitioners to seek higher protected amounts of the spouses assets. For example, spouses can petition for higher protected assets if the income those assets produce is needed for their reasonable living expenses.