When one spouse receives Medicaid coverage for long-term services and supports (LTSS), the other spouse can only retain a limited portion of that couple’s assets. But these “community spouses” – who are healthy enough to continue living at home – often are allowed to keep their entire income. This can mean they have enough money to pay their mortgage and other living expenses.
In most cases, only income of the spouse receiving LTSS is counted toward the eligibility limit for Medicaid long-term care benefits. This means the community spouse doesn’t have to take steps to reduce their income so a loved one can qualify for Medicaid.
If a community spouse’s monthly income is below a certain amount, they can keep a Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance (MMMNA) from their spouse who receives nursing home or HCBS benefits – which can increase a community spouse’s income until it reaches that amount. This is sometimes called a “spousal allowance.”
In 2020, the MMMNA varies in each state, and is between a minimum of $2,155.00 and maximum of $3,216.00 each month.
Because these allowances are based on the federal poverty level, the minimum monthly amounts are higher in Alaska ($2,693.75) and Hawaii ($2,478.75).