HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
On behalf of our entire law firm, we wish our clients, colleagues, friends, and community a year filled with peace, joy, and good health!
Important Legal Update for Illinois Community Spouses:
As of January 1, 2023, when Public Act 102-1037 took effect, Illinois spouse's, who qualify as "community spouses," under the long-term care Medicaid eligibility rules, received a much needed and long overdue monthly income and resource allowance adjustment. Specifically, this new law immediately realigned the monthly income allowance for Illinois community spouses with the federal maximum monthly income allowance. Likewise, it triggered the start of the process to realign the Illinois maximum resource allowance with the maximum federal allowance for resources, for Illinois community spouses.
The monthly maintenance needs allowance ("MMNA"), for Illinois community spouses, increased from $2,739 per month to $3715.50 per month, when the new law took effect on January 1st. When a community spouse's income is below the MMNA, then the nursing home spouse's income can be diverted to the community spouse, to bring the total monthly income of the community spouse up to the MMNA. The federal maximum MMNA is typically adjusted on an annual basis; and for 2023, it is $3715.50 per month. With rising costs for gas, food, medicines, etc., this adjustment to monthly income will provide much needed relief to Illinois’ community spouses.
The new law, also, provides Illinois community spouses with both an immediate increase in the community spouse resource allowance ("CSRA"), as well as additional incremental annual increases (which, commencing in 2024, will be spread-out over a ten-year period). The CSRA is the amount of resources a community spouse can keep of the couple's own resources without affecting the nursing home spouse's Medicaid eligibility for long-term care coverage. With both the annual adjustments starting now (in 2023) and the additional incremental adjustments spanning the next ten years, thereafter, by the year 2034, the Illinois CSRA will finally, once again, be fully realigned with the federal maximum CSRA, in effect from year to year.
Since 2012, the Illinois CSRA has been frozen at $109,560, which is also the base amount in the new law. Per PA 102-1037, commencing in 2024 and continuing each year thereafter for a total of ten years, an additional amount of $2784 per year shall be added to the annual CSRA. The new law, also, specifically provides that in addition to the base amount and the additional amount shall be any increase each year from the prior year to the federal maximum resource allowance. Therefore, in order to determine the Illinois CSRA in 2023, it is necessary to know the amount by which the federal CSRA increased from 2022 to 2023 -- this amount is $11,220. Thus, an Illinois community spouse, whose nursing home spouse becomes eligible for long-term care Medicaid coverage in 2023, should be entitled to a CSRA of $120,780.
A “community spouse” is the spouse of an individual who is receiving Medicaid-funded long-term care coverage, 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.
As this new law roles out, it is will be important for community spouses to advocate for these new amounts; particularly, if these adjustments have not been appropriately calculated and applied in their case. For some, filing an appeal may become necessary. For those who are uncertain of their rights; whether the new law applies to them; and/or how to pursue and file a timely appeal, seeking legal advice, sooner than later, is strongly recommended.
The bottom line is that 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.
Save the Date:
Is creating (or updating) your estate plan on your "to do" list and you just do not know where to start? If so, then mark you calendars now and "save the date" of April 27, 2023 to attend the following upcoming seminar:
Estate Planning 101: Protect Your Family's Future
Our law firm is thrilled to be partnering with the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley to offer a free, educational seminar to provide attendees with information on estate planning, including where to start; or, in the alternative, how to review an existing plan.
The seminar will be held at the Aurora Public Library and will begin at 9:00 a.m. (with check-in beginning at 8:30 a.m.), a light continental breakfast will be served.
So, again, "save the date" and stay tuned for additional information and registration details.
Help for those who may struggling during the winter months: For some, the winter months, when the daylight hours are shorter, can be a particurlarly difficult and challenging time of the year. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues and is in need of assistance this winter (or, at any time throughout the year), help is available by calling or texting the recently launched three-digit dialing code – “988”. The new 988 dialing code to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, for mental health crises, is available throughout the United States. Additionally, veterans can now dial 988 and press 1 to reach the Veteran Crisis Line.
Scheduling a presentation for your group:
Is your group in need of a speaker? If so, please do not hesitate to contact our office to discuss topic options and to determine whether one of our presentation topics aligns with the needs of your group.
Should you or someone you know wish to meet with one of our attorneys for assistance with (or to discuss options for): estate, life care, and/or long-term care planning; special needs planning; and/or, other planning matters, please do not hesitate to contact our office to schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys. It would be our pleasure to meet with you to review your current planning and/or to discuss planning options for your consideration.
Additional Legal Services:
Selling and/or buying a new home; commercial property; and/or other real estate?
Starting a new business; or, need your corporate records updated?
Recently injured, and uncertain of your rights?
If any of the above apply to you, or someone you know, then please visit the website of our parent law firm, Mickey, Wilson, Weiler, Renzi, Lenert, & Julien, P.C., to learn more about the additional legal services we offer.
Reminder: Out of an abundance of caution and to do our continued part in helping to keep our clients, staff, and their respective families as safe as possible, all non-signing appointments for our elder law clients and for our estate and life care planning clients with the following attorneys: Connie Renzi or Katie Lenert, remain "virtual" (via video or telephone conferencing).