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Making Sure the Community Spouse Has Enough Income to Live On

Medicaid PlanningEffective January 1, 2016, the community spouse Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance (“MMMNA”) will remain the same as in 2015 — $2,980.50. Usually each year there is a slight increase, however, “[w]ith consumer prices down over the past year, Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits will not increase in 2016. Therefore, the Medically Needy income and resource levels will not increase effective January 1, 2016, and will remain the same as in 2015. As a result, the Mass Rebudgeting (MRB) that is normally performed in November for January 1, 2016 budget changes did not occur.” i

Translation: the MMMNA is the amount that is set to make sure the healthy spouse has enough monthly income to continue to live in the community. More specifically, if the well (or community) spouse’s income falls below $2,980.50 per month the difference can be made from the income of the spouse in the nursing home.

Example: Shannon of Smithtown, NY has income of $800.00 per month. Her husband, Shane, has entered a skilled nursing home and has income of $2,600.00 per month. First, of his $2,600.00 per month income, Shane will be allowed to keep $50.00 per month as a personal needs allowance. Second, $2,180.50 of his monthly income will be budgeted to Shannon to bring her income each month up to the $2,980.50 per month MMMNA. Third, the balance of his income ($369.50) each month will be paid to the nursing home each month.

Example 2: Same facts as above except Shane’s income each month is $1,600.00. First, of his $1,600.00 per month income, Shane will be allowed to keep $50.00 per month as a personal needs allowance. Second, the entire $1,550.00 of his monthly income will be budgeted to Shannon to try to bring her income each month up to the $2,980.50 per month MMMNA. There would be no contribution of his income payable for the monthly nursing home costs.

Example 3: Same facts as in Example 1, except Shannon has income of $4,000.00 per month. Here, because Shannon’s income exceeds the MMMNA the following would occur: first, of his $2,600.00 per month income, Shane will be allowed to keep $50.00 per month as a personal needs allowance. Second, the balance of his income ($2,550.00) each month will be paid to the nursing home each month. Third, Shannon will be requested to contribute 25 percent of her income in excess of the minimum monthly maintenance needs allowance toward the cost of necessary care or assistance for Shane ($1,000.00 per month).

To be continued ….
Aaron E. Futterman, CPA, Esq. is a partner in the law firm of Futterman & Lanza, LLP with offices in Smithtown, NY and clients throughout Suffolk, Nassau, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Richmond, New York, Westchester and Rockland Counties. He concentrates his practice to Elder Law, Medicaid Planning, Medicaid Applications, Estate Planning, Probate, Estate Taxes, and Estate Administration.

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