Here’s a tool for estimating how much income the community spouse (the spouse at home) can keep for himself or herself, out of the couple’s combined income. This is a protection allowed by North Carolina Medicaid when one spouse is at home and the other spouse is in the nursing home…but it’s often miscalculated. For more about how the income allowance works and why it’s so important to do your own calculation, read the explanation that follows the calculator below.
More Information about the Income Allowance
This calculator computes the amount of the nursing home spouse’s income that the community spouse (the healthy spouse) can keep. The amount allowed to the community spouse depends on the community spouse’s income, the allowable shelter expenses, and how many people reside at the home where the community spouse lives. As described below, this calculator gives an estimate of what the community spouse can keep from nursing home spouse’s income. Whether the community spouse gets this amount of income depends on whether the nursing home spouse’s income is high enough, as explained below.
When one spouse is ill and in a nursing home, the community spouse still needs money to live at home. That’s why the North Carolina Medicaid laws protect the Community Spouse by allocating to the well-spouse a portion of the institutionalized spouse’s income. This is called the “Community Spouse Income Allowance.” It’s based on a calculation that uses the Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance, or MMMNA, and changes each year.
The maximum amount of income that can be kept is based on a standard formula, which includes some housing costs and utility costs. However, this is amount is then reduced by the Community Spouse’s own gross income. And of course, the Income Allowance is further limited by the amount available from the Institutionalized Spouse.
This is an area that we see Medicaid calculate wrong, so this calculator might help you in checking your own situation. PLEASE NOTE: this calculator only calculates the most you can keep. The amount that you actually keep from your spouse’s income is limited to your spouse’s actual income.
Example: Bill is in the nursing home, and his income is $1,200 per month. Sally is at home, with income of $500 of Social Security Income. After entering Sally’s housing and utility expenses, in her case the calculator shows that she has a Maintenance Needs Allowance of $2377 and her Spousal Allowance is $1877 (the Monthly Needs Allowance reduced by her own gross income). Unfortunately, Sally can’t receive that $1,877 from Bill’s income because his available income is less than that. Bill’s available income is his income minus his own $30 personal needs allowance, or $1,170. Accordingly, Sally would receive all of Bill’s remaining income and have more to live on at home. She will be able to keep nearly all of the couple’s combined income rather than trying to live on $500 per month.
You can use this calculator as a tool to estimate your own income allowance for the community spouse. Provided courtesy of The Elderlaw Firm.