The cost of long-term care is catastrophic. If a husband or wife needs long-term care then the family’s assets are quickly depleted on the cost of that care. Once the assets have been spent down then the family can acquire Medicaid assistance to help pay for the spouse’s care.
There are federal and state laws that attempt to prevent a healthier spouse from being impoverished. There are provisions in these laws that allow the healthier spouse to keep the primary marital residence, automobile, personal effects and a portion of the remaining assets. The portion of the assets that the healthier spouse can keep is known as the Community Spousal Resource Allowance, or CSRA.
Prior to 2021, the healthier spouse, known as the community spouse, could keep one-half of all of the cash assets but no more than $128,640.00. This is the community spouse’s CSRA.
The maximum CSRA increased effective January 1, 2021. The maximum CSRA is now $130,380.00.
By way of illustration, if a husband and wife own cash assets worth $300,000.00 and the husband needs long-term care, then the wife will be able to keep $130,380.00 of the cash assets. This is her CSRA. The balance of the cash assets of close to $170,000.00 will have to be spent down in order to qualify the husband for Medicaid assistance.