Maximize Income for the Community Spouse

Aler Stallings

When your spouse requires care in a nursing home (Institutionalized Spouse), you’ll likely find yourself facing economic uncertainty.

As the healthy spouse living at home (Community Spouse), we work to maximize your income and the assets you can keep.  

The elder care law attorneys at AlerStallings assist the Community Spouse in maximizing the amount of income that can be retained.  We recognize that retirement will continue for the Community Spouse and income is needed.  He or she will continue to have significant expenses going forward including home expenses, real estate taxes, insurance, rent or mortgage, health care, food and clothing.

Medicaid Benefits

This is a critical time for the Community Spouse.  We work to obtain the maximum amount of income permitted within the guidelines set by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.  To achieve the maximum amount of income, we must document all expenses and all sources of income.  All eligible expenses must be included and portrayed in a way that is most favorable to the Community Spouse’s efforts to maintain economic security. Ohio has a Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance for the Community Spouse that is adjusted annually for inflation.  The Community Spouse can keep all of his/her income, but if the total income earned is below the Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance, then the Community Spouse will have a short window to take steps to increase his or her own monthly income.

Veterans Benefits

The Aid and Attendance Pension is often utilized to maximize income when care is needed at home or in an assisted living facility.  This pension, which can be significant (up to $2,230 for a veteran with a living spouse), can make life easier for the healthy spouse by creating additional income to pay for care costs.  

Start Immediately 

Decisive steps must be taken to avoid losing this opportunity.  One option may be to utilize a Medicaid Compliant Annuity.  This planning option allows the Community Spouse to transform assets that would otherwise have to be spent down into an income stream.  This strategy allows the Community Spouse to both increase the income stream while his or her spouse is in the nursing home and also to maintain that increased income stream should the institutionalized spouse predecease him or her.  

The relatively short period of time following the Institutionalized Spouse’s entry into a nursing home is crucial for maintaining the economic security of the Community Spouse.  If you or your loved one is facing a long-term care crisis, call us immediately to schedule a time to discuss your options for maximizing the Community Spouse’s income.