Does Spousal Income Affect Medicaid Eligibility in Maryland?

Does spousal income affect Medicaid eligibility in Maryland

Are you worried that your spouse’s income might disqualify you from receiving Medicaid benefits, leaving you unable to afford the care you need? The thought of being disqualified from Medicaid can be incredibly distressing.

That’s why we—at PathFinder Law Group—make it our mission to simplify the process of securing Medicaid benefits.

In this article, we’ll answer the question, “Does spousal income affect Medicaid eligibility in Maryland?” and how to protect your spouse’s income, so you can secure eligibility and your spouse can hold onto their assets.

Medicaid Eligibility Basics

To truly answer “Does spousal income affect Medicaid eligibility in Maryland?” you first need to understand Medicaid’s basic eligibility criteria.

Medicaid looks at both your income and assets to determine if you qualify. Income includes money you receive from sources like Social Security, pensions, and employment. Assets are resources you own, such as bank accounts, investments, and property.

Medicaid has specific limits for both income and assets. Maryland typically allows a single individual applying for long-term care Medicaid to retain assets not to exceed $2,500.

If you’re married and applying for Medicaid, your spouse is referred to as the “community spouse.” The community spouse’s income and assets do play a role in your Medicaid eligibility.

In some cases, a portion of the community spouse’s income may be allocated to you, which can impact your eligibility for long-term Medicaid services.

Does Spousal Income Affect Medicaid Eligibility in Maryland?

Community Spouse Resource Allowance (CSRA)

The CSRA is the amount of assets that the community spouse (the spouse not applying for Medicaid) can keep without affecting the other spouse’s Medicaid eligibility.

As of 2024, the community spouse can keep 50% of the couple’s assets, up to a maximum of $154,140, under the Community Spouse Resource Allowance (CSRA). If the community spouse’s share of the assets is less than $30,828, they can retain 100% of the assets.

Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance (MMMNA)

The MMMNA is the income the community spouse is allowed to have each month to cover their living expenses. The MMMNA allows the Medicaid applicant to transfer a portion or all of their monthly income to their non-applicant spouse to prevent them from becoming impoverished. This rule makes sure the community spouse has enough income to live on while their spouse receives Medicaid benefits.

So, does spousal income affect Medicaid eligibility in Maryland? Yes, but the impact depends on your financial situation.

Strategies to Protect Spousal Income

Spousal Refusal

Spousal refusal is a strategy that can help protect your spouse’s income when you apply for Medicaid.

Your spouse, as the community spouse, refuses to contribute their income or assets towards your care. By doing so, they can keep their income and assets separate from yours, which can also help you qualify for Medicaid.

Spousal refusal is not an available strategy in all states, but it can be utilized in Maryland in select situations. However, it’s crucial to follow specific steps for this strategy to be effective. Not following the right steps could lead to legal action. If you’re considering spousal refusal, speak with an experienced elder law attorney specializing in Medicaid planning.

Medicaid Compliant Annuities

Medicaid Compliant Annuities (MCAs) work to protect your spouse’s income. An MCA converts your spouse’s assets into an income stream for a specific period.

The income from the MCA is typically paid to your spouse, the community spouse, and does not affect your Medicaid eligibility.

Spousal Impoverishment Rules

Spousal impoverishment rules are designed to prevent your spouse from becoming impoverished when you apply for Medicaid. Your spouse can keep a portion of your joint income and assets, up to certain limits, without affecting your Medicaid eligibility.

The specific rules and limits generally include the Community Spouse Resource Allowance (CSRA) and the Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance (MMMNA).

Common Applicant Problems and Solutions

“I’m Worried My Spouse’s Income Will Disqualify Me From Medicaid”

In many cases, your spouse’s income may not be counted towards your eligibility, thanks to the Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance (MMMNA) and other spousal impoverishment rules.

“I Don’t Want My Spouse to Become Impoverished Due to My Medical Expenses”

Spousal impoverishment rules are designed to prevent your spouse from falling into poverty while you receive Medicaid benefits. These rules allow your spouse to keep a portion of your joint income and assets, up to certain limits.

“I’m Unsure How to Navigate the Complex Medicaid Eligibility Rules”

Medicaid rules can be complex and overwhelming. That’s why it’s crucial to seek guidance from an experienced elder law attorney.

An elder law lawyer can help you understand the rules, explore your options, and develop a plan to protect your assets and qualify for Medicaid.

Key Takeaways

  • Spousal income can affect Medicaid eligibility in Maryland, but there are rules and strategies to protect the community spouse’s financial well-being.
  • The Community Spouse Resource Allowance (CSRA) and Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance (MMMNA) help prevent spousal impoverishment.
  • Strategies like spousal refusal and Medicaid Compliant Annuities can help protect spousal income and assets.
  • Medicaid rules are complex, especially when answering questions like “Does spousal income affect Medicaid eligibility in Maryland?”
  • Speak to an elder law attorney to understand your options, protect your assets, and ensure Medicaid eligibility.

Contact PathFinder Law Group to Start Medicaid Planning Today

At PathFinder Law Group, we understand the challenges you face when trying to protect your spouse’s assets and ensure Medicaid eligibility.

Our team will work closely with you to develop a personalized Medicaid planning strategy that addresses your unique circumstances. We’ll help you understand your options, make informed decisions, and implement effective solutions to protect your hard-earned assets. Schedule a risk-free consultation today or call us at 443-579-4529.

About Adam Zimmerman

Adam Zimmerman is known for his unique ability to put people at ease. Within minutes of meeting Adam, his clients realize he is not the stereotypical attorney and is genuinely invested in helping them through their life situations. He is committed to empowering his clients to be decision makers in the process, so they are knowledgeable about the course of action they decide over their affairs.