In 1988, Congress enacted provisions to prevent long-term care expenses from depleting a couple’s life time savings and leaving a spouse still able to live at home with little to no resources for his/her own living expenses. That provision has since become known as spousal impoverishment. Under the provisions a certain amount of the couple’s combined resources and depending on the income of the spouse still at home, some money from the spouse living in the institution can also be set aside.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released its Spousal Impoverishment and Home Equity Standards for 2013. They are as follows:
- The new minimum Community Spouse Resource Allowance (CSRA) is $23,184. The new maximum CSRA is 115,920.
- The new Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance is $1,891.25, and the new maximum MMMNA is $2,898 until July 1, 2013 (for all States except Alaska and Hawaii).
- The new Community Spouse Monthly Housing Allowance is $567.38 (for all States except Alaska and Hawaii).
- The new minimum Home Equity Limits is $536,000, and the new maximum limit is $802,000.
Although the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services increased spousal allowances for assets and income for 2013, the new figures still do not leave one feeling warm and fuzzy. Should one spouse need long term care assistance, the well-spouse can have between $23,184 and $115,920 in assets; and supposing the spouse who is ill also was the spouse with the income, the well-spousal income allocation limit was raised to $2,898 per month. If your monthly expenses exceed $2,989 you will need the assistance of an elder law attorney to advocate in court. However, with some pre-planning, a couple is able to protect up to 100 percent of the value of their estate should one spouse need long term care benefits, but it may mean holding your assets differently and managing your financial affairs with the goal of protecting assets in the face of long term care and uncovered medical expenses. To find out more, go see an elder law attorney.