Elderly Woman With a Nurse at a Nursing Home

If you’re asking this question, it probably means you are aware of the income and asset tests you must pass in order to qualify for Medicaid to pay for long-term care. You understand that, along with not exceeding a certain monthly income, the spouse who is applying for Medicaid cannot have more than $2,000 in countable assets. You’re wondering if you can put your joint assets into your name so that your wife will qualify for Medicaid. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.

All Assets Are Considered Joint Assets

While the law does allow for assets to be set aside for the spouse who is not going into the nursing home (the community spouse), you cannot put all of the couple’s assets into that person’s name. Instead, all countable assets—this excludes the family home, most personal possessions, one car, and pre-paid funeral expenses—are divided in half. The community spouse has access to half for his own care and expenses, with a minimum set aside amount of $25,728 and a maximum of $128,640 in 2020. There may be strategies available to increase the maximum amount that can be set aside for the community spouse, but this possibility should be discussed with an expert. The other half of the couple’s countable assets are used to pay for the nursing home. Once that half is below $2000, the spouse can qualify for Medicaid.

Using Assets for the Community Spouse’s Benefit

In order for the spouse in need of long-term care to qualify for Medicaid benefits more quickly, it is possible to spend down her half of the money. However, there are certain things you can and cannot spend the money on. You cannot gift the money to a child or grandchild, for example. You can, however, spend the money on home improvements, car maintenance, or a pre-paid funeral plan. This way, the community spouse’s assets are protected, his quality of life is enhanced, and the other spouse qualifies for Medicaid benefits faster.

Are You Looking for an Elder Law Attorney in Texarkana, TX?

If you are looking for elder law assistance, you need to speak with an experienced elder law attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Texarkana office directly at 903.223.5653. We also have offices in Tyler, Paris, Longview as well as Magnolia, AR!