Spouses of Medicaid recipients may keep more money in 2009

The amount of money that spouses of Medicaid recipients can keep may increase in 2009, as a result of new guidelines issued by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The amount of assets that spouses of people who are on Medicaid and living in nursing home can keep for themselves is set by each state, but the federal government sets a ceiling and a floor that the states must follow. For 2009, the ceiling has increased to $109,560, and the floor has increased to $21,912. These amounts are in addition to assets that aren’t counted by Medicaid, such as a home.

The federal government also sets a ceiling and a floor on the amount of monthly income belonging to a spouse in a nursing home that the other spouse can keep for himself or herself.

For 2009, the floor amount is $1,750. That means that if the spouse of someone in a nursing home doesn’t have $1,750 a month in income of his or her own, he or she can keep enough of the other spouse’s income to bring the total up to $1,750.

Depending on housing costs, this floor may be increased in some cases, up to a ceiling of $2,739. The floor was set last summer and may be revised again on July 1, 2009.

Keep in mind that these income numbers refer only to how much of the institutionalized spouse’s income the other spouse can keep if he or she doesn’t have enough income on his or her own. The other spouse can keep all of his or her own income, even if it’s much larger than these figures.

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