Medicaid ICP: Community Spouse Protections
Medicaid Institutional Care Program (ICP) does not require a community spouse (living in the community and not the nursing home) to give up all of their income and assets just so the needy spouse can qualify for long-term care (nursing home). Instead, Medicaid has a set of rules called “spousal protections” that allow the spouse of a nursing home resident also known as the community spouse to keep enough income and assets to live on.
What Income is Protected?
Community Spouses are allowed to keep all of their own income, and they may be able to keep some of their spouse’s income if they need the financial support. The amount of money that a community spouse may keep and that is exempt from the Medicaid eligibility calculation is called the “minimum monthly maintenance needs allowance” (MMMNA). The MMMNA varies from the minimum of $2,030.00, and the maximum of $3022.50. The federal government sets the minimum and a maximum annually usually July 1 of each year. That amount of income is disregarded by the state Medicaid agency in evaluating whether the needy spouse is financially eligible for Medicaid.
What Assets are Protected?
The community spouse is allowed to keep assets up to a certain amount called the community spouse resource allowance (CSRA). and it varies by state. The federal maximum CSRA is $120,900, and the federal minimum is $24,180.
Protection of Couple's Home
Federal Medicaid rules protect a Medicaid recipient’s home and the property the house is on, and that is an important protection for spouses who remain in the community. If a recipient expresses an intent to return to the home, the first $560,000 in equity is excluded as a resource when calculating whether the needy spouse is eligible for Medicaid. For instance, if you and your spouse have equity in your house worth $500,000, and no other other countable assets, and your spouse needs to go to a nursing home but plans on returning to live in the house again some day, your spouse should qualify for Medicaid.