View History

18.4 Spousal Impoverishment Assets

18.4.1 Spousal Impoverishment Assets Introduction

18.4.2 Asset Assessment

18.4.3 Calculate the Community Spouse Asset Share

18.4.4 Asset Test

18.4.5 Undue Hardship

18.4.6 Asset Transfer

18.4.6.1 Asset Transfer Period

18.4.6.1.1 Leaves Institution or Becomes Ineligible During the 12-Month Transfer Period

18.4.6.2 Institutionalized Spouse Is Eligible After the 12-Month Transfer Period

18.4.6.2.1 Leaves Institution for 30 or More Days Then Is Reinstitutionalized

18.4.6.2.2 Loses Medicaid Eligibility But Remains Institutionalized

18.4.1 Spousal Impoverishment Assets Introduction

Count the combined assets of the institutionalized person and his or her community spouse . (Note: Disregard prenuptial agreements. They have no effect on spousal impoverishment determinations.) Add together all countable, available assets (see Section 16.1 Assets Introduction) the couple owns.

 

Do not count the following assets:

 

Example 1: One spouse is in a nursing home, the other lives in the community. They have lived apart for 10 years. The institutionalized person owns a home and intends to return. The community spouse owns a different home. The home that each spouse owns is the principal residence of that spouse. The institutionalized person's home is an exempt asset. The community spouse's home is not exempt.

 

If they both own homes and the institutionalized person’s home is not exempt, count the institutionalized person’s home but exempt the spouse’s home. Both homes cannot be exempt simultaneously.

 

 

Do not allow applicants and members to simply state that they are setting aside an unreasonable amount of cash (e.g., $1,000,000) as their burial fund for unspecified funeral expenses. If they can document the funeral expense that they expect to incur, it can be totally exempt regardless of its cost.

 

For example, ask the member to document that he or she has arranged to purchase a $100,000 casket or that a funeral home will provide them with a $75,000 funeral along with an itemized listing of the funeral goods and services that will be provided.

 

This differs from EBD burial policies for non-institutionalized persons and institutionalized persons without a community spouse (see Section 16.5 Burial Assets).

 

 

18.4.2 Asset Assessment

The IM agency must make an assessment of the total countable assets of the couple at one of the following, whichever is earlier:

 

Note: The date of the first request is the date a functional screen was completed and the person was determined functionally eligible.

 

Complete an asset assessment when a person applies, even if he or she had one done in the past, to get the most current asset share.

 

If a member was not married on the first date of institutionalization or waivers request, apply the policy from the point he or she is married. If he or she has remarried since the first date of institutionalization or waivers request, apply the policy from the date he or she married his or her current spouse.

 

The IM agency should inform the person for whom an assessment is being made what documentation is required. He or she must document ownership interest in and the value of any available assets the couple had at the time of his or her first period of continuous institutionalization. The same documentation procedures are used as when an application is filed (see Section 20.1 Verification Introduction).

18.4.3 Calculate the Community Spouse Asset Share

The community spouse asset share is the amount of countable assets greater than $2,000 that the community spouse, the institutionalized person, or both, can possess at the time the institutionalized person applies for Medicaid.

 

IF the total countable assets of the couple are:

Then the community spouse asset share is:

$238,440 or more

$119,220

Less than $238,440 but

greater than $100,000

½ of the total countable assets of the couple

$100,000 or less

$50,000

18.4.4 Asset Test

When an institutionalized person applies for Medicaid, compare the total countable assets of the couple to $2,000 plus the greater of one of the following:

 

If assets at the time of application are equal to or less than this amount, the institutionalized person is eligible. If they are more, the institutionalized person is not eligible.

18.4.5 Undue Hardship

An institutionalized person will not be denied Medicaid if the IM agency determines that the ineligibility caused by excess assets creates undue hardship for him or her. Undue hardship means an immediate, serious impairment to the institutionalized person's health.

18.4.6 Asset Transfer

After the institutionalized person is found eligible, he or she may transfer assets to the community spouse. The maximum amount he or she can transfer is the community spouse asset share (or a greater amount ordered by a court or a fair hearing). If the community spouse already has some assets, the institutionalized person can transfer assets which, when added to the community spouse's assets, equal the community spouse asset share (or an amount ordered by a court or a fair hearing).

 

He or she is not allowed to transfer assets for less than fair market value to anyone other than the community spouse.

18.4.6.1 Asset Transfer Period

The institutionalized spouse must transfer the assets to the community spouse by the next regularly scheduled review (12 months). If his or her assets are above $2,000 on the date of the next scheduled review, he or she will be determined ineligible. He or she will remain ineligible until his or her assets no longer exceed the $2,000 Medicaid asset limit.

 

Example 2: Robert was first institutionalized September 2013. Lucinda, Robert's wife, remained in the community. The couple passed the joint asset test and Robert was determined eligible in September 2013. The couple's total combined assets were $42,000, $32,000 of which were owned solely by Robert. Robert had until the next scheduled review (August 2014) to get his total assets under the $2,000 Medicaid asset limit.

 

CARES does not generate sufficient notice regarding the transfer of assets by the next scheduled renewal. See Section 18.8 Spousal Impoverishment Notices for information on manual notices that must be sent to the couple.

 

By August 2014, Robert had only transferred $23,000 to Lucinda. Robert still had $9,000 in assets. Robert became ineligible September 2014 and will remain ineligible as long as his assets are over $2,000.

18.4.6.1.1 Leaves Institution or Becomes Ineligible During the 12-Month Transfer Period

If the institutionalized spouse during the 12-month transfer period:

 

  1. Leaves the institution for 30 days or more and becomes institutionalized again, or

  2. Becomes ineligible for Medicaid and then becomes eligible for Medicaid once again.

 

The time allowed to transfer assets does not start over again.

18.4.6.2 Institutionalized Spouse Is Eligible After the 12-Month Transfer Period

18.4.6.2.1 Leaves Institution for 30 or More Days Then Is Reinstitutionalized

If the institutionalized spouse remains in the institution and Medicaid-eligible after the expiration of the 12-month transfer period but then leaves the institution for 30 days or more and subsequently becomes institutionalized once again for 30 days or more, he or she would be subject to all spousal impoverishment rules upon becoming reinstitutionalized. This includes all of the following:

 

Example 3: Peter was institutionalized and determined Medicaid eligible in March of 2002. Janice, Peter's wife, remained in the community. In February 2003, Peter's assets were below $2,000. Peter remained Medicaid eligible and institutionalized through May 2003. In June 2003, Peter left the nursing home and joined Janice in their home in the community. His Medicaid eligibility ended on June 30, 2003.

 

In August 2003, Peter inherited $100,000. In September 2003, Peter's condition worsened and he was institutionalized again and applied for Medicaid. All spousal impoverishment rules would be applied to Peter's September 2003 application. His eligibility would be based on a joint asset test, and, if eligible, he would have12 months to transfer assets in his name that exceed $2,000 to his wife.

18.4.6.2.2 Loses Medicaid Eligibility But Remains Institutionalized

If the institutionalized spouse remains in the institution and remains Medicaid eligible after the 12-month transfer period but subsequently becomes ineligible and remains institutionalized, spousal impoverishment asset rules would not be applicable if he or she should reapply.

 

If the institutionalized spouse reapplies for Medicaid, his or her asset limit would be $2,000, and the community spouse's assets would not be counted.

 

If eligible, the institutionalized spouse would still be allowed to allocate some of his or her income to the community spouse.

 

Example 4: Gregory was institutionalized in December 2007. Gregory and his wife, Marcia, who remained in the community, passed the joint asset test. Gregory was found eligible and had until November 2008 to get under the $2,000 asset limit. By November 2008, Greg had transferred enough assets to Marcia to get under the asset limit.

 

In March 2009, while Gregory remained institutionalized, he refused to sign over to Medicaid a health insurance payment check. His Medicaid eligibility was discontinued March 31, 2005, for failure to cooperate with TPL requirements. Greg has never left the institution and now reapplies for Medicaid on June 3, 2009. Since Greg did not leave the institution for 30 days or more since his original Medicaid spousal impoverishment application was approved (December 2007), the assets of his community spouse are not counted when determining eligibility for the application filed June 2009. Greg's asset limit for this application is $2,000.

 

 

 

This page last updated in Release Number: 16-01

Release Date: 06/10/2016

Effective Date: 06/10/2016