Amounts Spouses of Medicaid Recipients May Keep in 2008 Are Released

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released the 2008 federal guidelines for how much money the spouses of institutionalized Medicaid recipients may keep.

In 2008, the spouse of a Medicaid recipient living in a nursing home (called the "community spouse") may keep as much as $104,400 without jeopardizing the Medicaid eligibility of the spouse who is receiving long-term care. Called the "community spouse resource allowance," this is the most that a state may allow a community spouse to retain without a hearing or a court order. While some states set a lower maximum, the least that a state may allow a community spouse to retain in 2008 will be $20,880.

Meanwhile, the maximum monthly maintenance needs allowance for 2008 will be $2,610. This is the most in monthly income that a community spouse is allowed to have if her own income is not enough to live on and she must take some or all of the institutionalized spouse's income. The minimum monthly maintenance needs allowance remains $1,711.25 until July 1, 2008. In determining how much income a particular community spouse is allowed to retain, states must abide by this upper and lower range. Bear in mind that these figures apply only if the community spouse needs to take income from the institutionalized spouse. According to Medicaid law, the community spouse may keep all her own income, even if it exceeds the maximum monthly maintenance needs allowance.

The new figures reflect an increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) of 2.8 percent from September 2006 to September 2007. The 2008 figures take effect on January 1, 2008.

For a more complete explanation of the community spouse resource allowance and the monthly maintenance needs allowance, click here.