New Jersey Changes Shelter Standard in Determining Spousal Support

husband and wife sitting on bench in the snow

If a spouse enters into a nursing home facility, then the healthier spouse may be entitled to spousal support.  The spousal support is based in part upon the minimum amount known as the Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance.  This is also known as the MMMNA.  The MMMNA recently increased from $2,177.50 to $2,288.75.

The spousal support can be increased based upon the healthier spouse’s shelter expenses.  Until recently, the amount of shelter expenses that exceeded $653.25 each month could be included or added to the basic spousal support.  The New Jersey Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services (DMAHS) issued a directive to the Medicaid agencies in the State of New Jersey.  This directive is known as Medicaid Communication No. 22-06.  According to Medicaid Communication No. 22-06, the shelter standard has now increased to $686.63.

If the healthier spouse has a gross monthly income of $988.75, then the basic spousal support is $1,300.00.  This is the difference between the minimum amount of $2,288.75 and the healthier spouse’s income of $988.75.  The basic spousal support is $1,300.00.

If the healthier spouse incurs shelter expenses of $1,286.63 each month then the spousal support will be increased by $600.00.  It will be increased by $600.00 because the shelter expenses exceed $686.63 by $600.00.  Under this scenario, the healthier spouse would receive a total monthly spousal support of $1,900.00.

According to the New Jersey Medicaid regulations, the shelter expenses are limited to property taxes, mortgage, homeowner’s insurance and utilities.