How Does Divorce Affect Medicaid Eligibility in Maryland?

How Does Divorce Affect Medicaid Eligibility in Maryland

Divorce can bring severe emotional and financial uncertainties. “How does divorce affect Medicaid eligibility in Maryland?” is a common concern for those who receive long-term care Medicaid benefits.

Without proper guidance, you might be unprepared for the financial repercussions affecting your healthcare access.

In this article, we’ll talk about the ins and outs of how Medicaid eligibility is impacted by divorce—so you can make smart financial decisions and maintain your eligibility for Medicaid support.

Understanding Long-Term Care Medicaid Eligibility Basics

Long-term care Medicaid—which covers nursing home care and other long-term care services—has strict eligibility requirements. To be eligible for long-term care Medicaid in Maryland, your income and assets must fall within specific limits.

Regarding income, your monthly earnings should be lower than the cost of nursing home care. Typically, this means your income cannot surpass 300% of the highest possible monthly Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit.

The Maryland asset limit is $2,500 in countable assets for individuals applying for long-term care Medicaid. Countable assets include resources like bank accounts, cash, and investments.

It’s important to understand these basic eligibility criteria when asking, “How does divorce affect Medicaid eligibility in Maryland?” because changes in income and asset distribution during a divorce can impact your eligibility status.

How Does Divorce Affect Medicaid Eligibility in Maryland?

Divorce can significantly impact your long-term care Medicaid eligibility—as it affects both your income and assets. When you divorce, your marital status changes, which changes how Medicaid calculates your income and assets.

After a divorce, Medicaid will consider your individual income and assets rather than the combined income of you and your spouse. This change in income calculation might actually help you meet income and asset limits required by Medicaid if your spouse retains most of the assets.

However, if you receive additional assets in your divorce that push your assets above Medicaid’s limits, you may lose your Medicaid benefits.

Consider how your divorce settlement agreement divides your assets and income. A well-structured agreement can help protect your Medicaid eligibility by ensuring you don’t exceed the income and asset thresholds.

Alimony

If you receive alimony or spousal support after the divorce, it will be counted as additional income and affect your Medicaid eligibility. However, if you transfer assets to your spouse as part of the divorce settlement, these assets generally won’t be counted as part of your Medicaid application.

Consulting with a Medicaid planning attorney can help you understand your options and make informed decisions to protect your Medicaid eligibility.

Common Concerns and Misconceptions

When considering “How does divorce affect Medicaid eligibility in Maryland,” it’s perfectly natural to have concerns and questions. Many common misconceptions can lead to unnecessary worry and confusion.

Let’s discuss three of them:

1. Divorce Disqualifies You From Medicaid

One misconception is that divorce automatically disqualifies you from receiving long-term care Medicaid support. While divorce can impact your eligibility, it doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be able to get coverage—or will lose coverage that you already have. The only factor contributing to Medicaid eligibility is changes to your income and assets caused by your divorce.

Medicaid eligibility is determined based on your individual income and assets post-divorce—not your marital status.

2. Alimony Will Make You Ineligible for Medicaid

Another concern is that receiving alimony will always make you ineligible for Medicaid. While alimony is considered income, it’s merely one factor in your eligibility calculation.

If your total income—including alimony—falls below the Medicaid limit, you still may qualify.

3. Transferring Assets Will Disqualify You

There is also the misconception that transferring assets to your spouse during a divorce will prevent you from qualifying for Medicaid. However, assets transferred as part of a divorce settlement are typically exempt from Medicaid’s look-back period—meaning they won’t be counted when determining your eligibility.

It’s important to clarify these misconceptions with accurate information. If you’re uncertain about any of these misconceptions, speak with an experienced Medicaid planning attorney—like PathFinder Law Group.

The Role of a Medicaid Planning Attorney

Navigating Medicaid eligibility during a divorce can be incredibly difficult and overwhelming. An elder law and Medicaid planning attorney can provide invaluable guidance and support.

Here’s how they can help:

  • Analyze your income and assets to determine your current Medicaid eligibility status.
  • Develop strategies to protect your assets and income during the divorce process.
  • Review your divorce settlement agreement and help minimize the impact on your Medicaid eligibility.
  • Advise you on the best ways to transfer assets and income to your spouse, if necessary.
  • Help you understand and comply with Medicaid’s look-back period and asset transfer rules.

Working with an experienced Medicaid planning attorney gives you peace of mind, knowing that your Medicaid eligibility is protected and that you’re making informed decisions about your future healthcare needs.

Real-Life Examples

To better understand how divorce affects Medicaid eligibility, let’s look at a couple of hypothetical scenarios:

Scenario 1: John and Sarah

John and Sarah are getting a divorce after 30 years of marriage. Sarah needs long-term care and qualifies for Medicaid, but John’s income is too high. As part of the divorce settlement, John agrees to pay Sarah spousal support—which reduces his income and allows Sarah to maintain her Medicaid eligibility.

Scenario 2: Mark and Lisa

Mark and Lisa are divorcing, and Lisa is concerned about protecting her Medicaid eligibility. With the help of a Medicaid planning attorney, they structured their divorce settlement agreement to transfer a portion of Mark’s assets to Lisa through a Medicaid-compliant annuity—ensuring that Lisa’s assets remain below the Medicaid limit while still receiving her fair share of the marital assets.

In both scenarios, working with an experienced Medicaid planning attorney allowed them to qualify for Medicaid by carefully structuring divorce settlements and utilizing tools like spousal support and Medicaid-compliant annuities.

Key Takeaways

  • It’s crucial to understand “How does divorce affect Medicaid eligibility in Maryland?” before making any financial decisions that could impact your Medicaid support.
  • Divorce can impact Medicaid eligibility by changing your income and asset calculations.
  • Medicaid eligibility is based on your individual income and assets post-divorce—not marital status.
  • Receiving alimony or spousal support may affect your Medicaid eligibility, but it doesn’t automatically disqualify you.
  • Assets transferred as part of a divorce settlement are typically exempt from Medicaid’s look-back period.
  • A Medicaid planning attorney can help you navigate Medicaid eligibility and protect your access to necessary healthcare services.
  • Speak to an elder law and Medicaid planning attorney to protect your eligibility and make informed decisions about your future healthcare needs.

Contact PathFinder Law Group to Protect Medicaid Eligibility During Divorce

Divorce is difficult—but worrying about Medicaid eligibility doesn’t have to make it harder. At PathFinder Law Group, we’ll guide you through the challenges of Medicaid eligibility and divorce.

Our team will work closely with you to develop a personalized strategy that protects your Medicaid benefits. Don’t go through this challenging time alone. 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.