Increase in Medicaid Utility Allowance for Spousal Support

elderly couple on beach

When a spouse enters into an assisted living facility or a nursing home, a portion or all of his or her monthly income must be paid to the facility.  There are laws that protect the healthier spouse from being impoverished.  There are provisions in both federal and state laws that permit a portion of an institutionalized spouse’s income to be paid to the healthier spouse as support.

According to applicable Medicaid laws, the amount of the spousal support is based upon the gross monthly income for both husband and wife, as well as the shelter expenses for the healthier spouse.  The shelter expenses, however, are limited to rent, mortgage, property taxes and utilities.  According to New Jersey law, the utility expenses can be based upon the standard utility allowance.

Until recently, the standard utility allowance was $548.00 per month.  On November 29, 2021, the New Jersey Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services, also known as the DMAHS, issued a formal notice that changed the standard utility allowance to $583.00.  According to the DMAHS, the standard utility allowance is $583.00 per month as of October 1, 2021.

When Medicaid determines the amount, if any, to be awarded to the healthier spouse as support, the utility expenses used in that calculation should not be less than $583.00 per month.