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The Heritage Law Center, LLC Blog

Spending Down Assets for MassHealth

POSTED ON: June 14, 2021

elderly person

Medicaid is actually called MassHealth in Massachusetts, so they’re the same program. It’s a joint federal/state assistance program designed to pay for health care for individuals that meet certain income and asset guidelines. To qualify for MassHealth, your total resources and income must fall below some fairly stringent eligibility limits. There are also restrictions on how you can transfer assets.

If you’re 65 or older, to apply for MassHealth for long-term care to cover your nursing home costs, you should have only $2,000 in countable assets in your name. Assets that aren’t generally counted towards MassHealth’s asset limit include an applicant’s primary home, household furnishings and appliances, personal effects, and a vehicle. If your spouse plans to continue living in the community, your spouse is allowed to keep approximately $154,140 in their name. (updated to the 2024 figure)

There are ways to legally spend down your assets. It’s important to get guidance from a Massachusetts elder law attorney to make sure you’re spending down according to MassHealth rules.

To spend down appropriately, you must spend assets on your needs, including medical care, in-home supports like personal care and cleaning, home repairs, car repairs, eyeglasses, hearing aids, and mobility aids. You can also pay bills/debts like credit cards, mortgage payments, taxes, and car payments even if those costs are owed by your spouse. Assets can also be used to pay for burial and funeral expenses in advance.

If you don’t spend down according to MassHealth rules, you could be disqualified for MassHealth or have a penalty phase where your coverage would start at some future date.

As a Massachusetts elder law attorney, I can provide you with the right guidance to spend down your assets, so you can be eligible for MassHealth. Contact us today to schedule a confidential, no-cost consultation to discuss how we can help you.