Applicants for Medicaid (MassHealth in Massachusetts), can only qualify for long-term care benefits when they meet very strict asset guidelines. A MassHealth applicant may have only $2,000 worth of countable assets at the time they apply for MassHealth. However, to if the applicant is married and the spouse continues to live in the community, that spouse may keep a larger amount of countable assets in order to support their lifestyle. Last year this amount, known as the community spouse resource allowance (“CSRA”) was $109,560. As of January 1, 2012, the CSRA has increased to $113,640, meaning that married couple can keep up to $115,640 before having to ‘spend down’ assets in order to obtain MassHealth/Medicaid eligibility.
Other allowances have also been increased in 2012, such as the minimum and maximum monthly maintenance needs allowance and the community spouse monthly housing allowance. These increases provide more flexibility in sheltering assets and protecting a spouse whose husband or wife needs nursing home care.
For questions about Medicaid/MassHealth eligibility, or any other estate planning or elder law questions, contact the Massachusetts estate planning and elder law attorneys at the Heritage Law Center.