Your Rights as the Spouse
of a Nursing Home Resident

As the spouse of a person who is faced with entering a nursing home facility for short or long-term care, you may have some financial concerns. Armed with some basic knowledge and planning, your concerns may be alleviated.

The Spousal Impoverishment Act was enacted under the Social Security Act to allow assets of a long term care patient to transfer to a community spouse, in turn keeping the community spouse from needing public assistance.

As of January 1, 2012:

  • The Community Spouse Asset Allowance Standard increased to $113,640. The new amount is based on the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index
  • The Community Spouse Maintenance Needs Allowance Standard increased to $2,841

This enables a person who is going to a nursing home or in-home care to qualify for public assistance after assets have been brought down to the eligibility level for the burial allowance, and $2,000 for asset disregard and the funds set aside for exempt merchandise, if applicable. The price of a home and automobile is not included in the allowance, but insurance policies, bank accounts and certificates of deposit are included.

In addition, a person may also have their funeral expenses prepaid as well as cemetery, casket, vault and grave marker expenses.

The community spouse can also receive up to $2,841 of the recipient's income. The balance, if any, will be used toward spend-down against nursing home or in-home care expenses.

Once assets have reached specified limits, application can be made to the Department of Public Aid for assistance with nursing home and medical bills.

For more information please call Butler Funeral Homes at 217-544-4646 or 1-877-724-6381.

 

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