Legislative Update - Illinois to Provide Long-awaited Relief to Community Spouses
Great news for Illinois seniors -- particularly, seniors who qualify as "community spouses," under the Medicaid eligibility rules, Governor Pritzker has signed HB 4343 (Public Act 102-1037). Passage of this new law starts the process of realigning Illinois law with the maximum federal allowances for both income and resources for community spouses. The effective date of the new law is January 1, 2023.
Upon the effective date, the new law will immediately increase the monthly income allowance for a community spouse from $2,739 per month to the maximum amount allowed under federal law which is currently $3,435. Typically, this amount is adjusted annually. As such, any increase at the federal level which takes effect on January 1, 2023 will now also apply to community spouses in Illinois. With rising costs for gas, food, medicines, etc., this adjustment is long overdue and will provide much needed relief to Illinois’ community spouses.
The new law, also, begins increasing at the rate of 2.5% per year for the next ten years Illinois' Community Spouse Resource Allowance ("CSRA"). This is the amount of resources a community spouse can keep of the couple's own resources without affecting the nursing home spouse's Medicaid application. At the end of the ten years Illinois' allowance will, finally, realign and mirror the maximum federal allowance for future increases. The new law will also allow community spouses to receive any additional increases in the CSRA that is permitted under federal law during these ten years.
A “community spouse” is the spouse of an individual who is receiving Medicaid-funded, long-term care in an institutional setting, so long as the spouse is not also residing in a nursing home or supportive living facility. In other words, the spouse of the long-term care Medicaid recipient is still residing "at home" -- within the community.
The new law is a huge step forward for all Illinois community spouses, as it reduces the likelihood that community spouses will become impoverished and unable to support themselves. The significant and positive impact that the new law affords to Illinois' community spouses cannot be overstated.
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