The following states have strict limitations on the amount of income an applicant for Medicaid nursing home benefits is allowed.
Income Cap States
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
Income qualification is still possible- even if the applicant has “excess income” – by using the services of an elder law attorney. In Texas, when income exceeds the annual limit a special attorney drafted agreement known as a Miller Trust is required.
Medicaid Asset Limits
Medicaid uses both income and the value of a Medicaid applicants’ assets to determine eligibility. Assets are also referred to as “resources”,”countable asset” and “countable resources.”
In most states for 2016, the limit for a single person seeking nursing home assistance is $2,000. Some states set the limit higher. The Texas Medicaid income limit is $2,000.
Medicaid rules offer a number of exceptions to what might be considered “countable” and therefore, subject to spending down. In Texas,for example, the applicant’s personal residence, an automobile, personal jewelry, clothing and furniture and fully paid funeral arrangements are not counted when determining asset eligibility.
When a senior’s resources exceed the Medicaid eligibility limit the applicant (and spouse, if married) must use part of those excess assets to pay for their expenses until they reduce down to the limit.
As long as one spouse is not seeking Medicaid help (called the “community spouse”), married individuals are allowed to keep substantially more assets than a single person. For 2016, they are guaranteed a minimum protection of $23,448. With proper planning substantially more can be preserved.
A person with resources that are greater than Medicaid’s limits may still be able to qualify for financial assistance.
Medicaid has rules that protect assets. Most people are not aware they exist. The uninformed invariably spend more than they are legally required. Don’t over spend assets. Find an elder law attorney experienced with Medicaid matters. The advice can prevent spending too much for nursing home care, protect assets and get eligibility more quickly.