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When An Ohio Spouse is Admitted to a Nursing Home

When a spouse enters long-term nursing care (referred to as the “Institutional Spouse”) it can cause a significant amount of financial stress and uncertainty for the family, and especially, the well-spouse (the “Well-Spouse” is the spouse not in a nursing home).  There is a mistaken belief that when someone enters long-term care a “fire sale” of assets must occur to qualify for Ohio Medicaid financial assistance. While it is true that there are strict financial requirements to qualify for Ohio Medicaid assistance, there are steps we can take today to preserve a significant amount of joint assets for the well-spouse.  

There are two financial components that Ohio Medicaid will consider when a married person seeks financial assistance with long-term nursing care costs: (i) the institutional spouse’s income and (ii) the parties’ combined assets.  

Institutionalized Spouse’s Income:  Ohio Medicaid will count only the institutionalized spouse’s gross income from all sources (minus certain deductions) for purposes of determining income eligibility.  If the institutional spouse’s income exceeds $2,313, a qualified income trust will need to be established. The institutional spouse will be able to retain $50 of monthly income as a personal needs allowance.   However, if the well-spouse’s monthly income is below $2,114, then a portion of the institutionalized spouse’s income may be paid to the well-spouse up to a maximum of $3,161 monthly for the well spouse’s financial support.  Additionally, the well-spouse may also receive a portion of the institutionalized spouse’s income for housing and utility expenses.  

 The Couples’ Assets:  The parties’ combined assets, regardless of ownership, will be deemed a financial resource, unless otherwise exempt, such as the couples’ primary residence so long as the well-spouse continues to reside there, one automobile and pre-paid burial and funeral arrangements, personal and household belongings, to name a few.   The institutionalized spouse may not own more than $2,000 in assets while the well-spouse may receive the first $25,284 of combined assets, up to a maximum of $126,420 – this is called the community spouse resource allowance. The rules and federal regulations affecting spousal resource allowances are very complicated so make sure you work with a law firm that understands the law.    

Winkler Legal, LLC is a firm focused on helping Ohioans preserve assets while also qualifying for Ohio Medicaid financial assistance with long-term nursing care costs.  Winkler Legal will help to protect your assets thereby ensuring a stable financial future for your family and loved-ones.    

Let Winkler Legal, LLC make the difference.