Change in Medicaid Laws: Minimum Amount Increases for Healthier Spouse

When a healthier spouse requires long-term care in a nursing home facility, then that care can quickly deplete the family’s life savings.  Fortunately, there are federal and state laws that prevent the healthier spouse from being impoverished.

When a spouse requires long-term care in a nursing home facility, then the healthier spouse can keep the house, car, personal effects and a portion of the remaining assets.  The portion of the remaining assets that the healthier spouse can keep is known as the Community Spousal Resource Allowance, or CSRA.

In many cases, the healthier spouse can keep one-half of the cash assets as his or her CSRA.  These are assets that the healthier spouse can keep and not use for the other spouse’s long-term care needs in a nursing home.  Federal law sets forth a minimum amount that the healthier spouse can keep.  Last year the minimum amount that the healthier spouse can keep was $25,284.00. 

Effective January 2020, the minimum amount that a healthier spouse can keep as his or her CSRA is $25,728.00.  By way of illustration, assume that the husband and wife own a house, automobile and cash assets of $40,000.00.  The healthier spouse can keep the house, automobile and $25,728.00 of the cash assets.  The balance of the cash assets of $14,272.00 will have to be spent down in order to qualify the institutionalized spouse for Medicaid assistance.