It can be an unsettling time to care for our loved one in Long-Term Care while simultaneously worrying about our expenses and future. There are laws in place that can protect us from having to relinquish our most important assets, such as our homes, so we can continue to live in our community and care for our loved ones.
There are a few laws in place on the state and federal levels that have been put in place to protect us.
What is Spousal Impoverishment?
With the costs of long-term care and nursing homes continuously rising, it was essential to find a way to protect the spouses of patients in long-term care. The “community spouse,” or the spouse not in long-term care or other facilities, is covered through the Spousal Impoverishment Standards.
Generally speaking, this part of Medicaid law protects a certain amount of income for the community spouse to live on, which can help them to preserve and sustain their assets. The standards will vary from state to state but are set and evolving to account for economic changes.
What is the Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance?
The state of Georgia recognizes that the community spouse should not shoulder the entire burden of sustaining the family on their own. According to the Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance (MMMNA), the supporting spouse can maintain a higher income for their own support if their income falls below the MMMNA.
It also protects the community spouse from having to divert their income to cover the cost of long-term care. Any pension, retirement, social security, or other income that the community spouse receives in their name may be kept and used by them.
Although ever-evolving, there are protections that the MMMNA provides for the community spouse to be able to retain their income, and in some cases, some of their spouse’s income if they should need it for a mortgage, rent, or insurance on their home.
These laws can be confusing and frequently change to accommodate the changing economy, but we are happy to help you understand them and how they apply to your specific situation.
What is the Community Spouse Resource Allowance?
Under the Community Spouse Resource Allowance or CSRA, the community spouse living at home can keep a certain amount of assets rather than diverting them and their value to Medicaid. In Georgia, the maximum level of the federal Maximum Resource Standard is allowed.
Each state will have its laws and limits in place. Georgia generally has higher limits and increased protection for its community spouses. This allows them to continue to live their lives comfortably while they care for their spouse in long-term care, rather than consigning them to poverty, unable to take care of themselves or afford their lifestyle.
What Does All This Mean?
It can make your head spin to determine which laws and limits apply to your family based on your individual circumstances. Working with an experienced attorney can help you to sift through what rules and regulations are applicable to your specific case and how you can best utilize them for your current and future security.
You shouldn’t have to navigate this situation alone. Work with an experienced attorney who can advocate for you, your spouse, and your family. They can analyze the details of your situation, find out how the current laws and rules apply, ensure that you are protected to the fullest, and help you take advantage of the programs that were put in place specifically for people like you.
How Can an Estate Planning Attorney Help My Family and Me?
It can seem like a foreign language to understand the ins and outs of estate planning, handling Medicaid and long-term care scenarios, and more. We don’t expect you to understand it fully, and you can rely on us to guide you. We have spent years in training and have experience working with families to help them find the best ways that are available to them to protect their most valued assets.
How can you utilize the laws to the best of your ability to protect yourself and your family now and in the future? How can you account for future changes to your income that may change your situation entirely? Can you transfer your home to another relative in anticipation of needing long-term care yourself in the future? What legal ramifications will specific changes pose on your family in the future? All these and more are discussions we often have with our clients.
There is a reason there are more and more laws in place to protect the elderly and help them avoid financial distress when one or both require extra care. Unfortunately, there are too many opportunities to take advantage of those nearing the end of their lives who may be unaware of ways to protect themselves. We take pride in providing the respect the elderly deserve by becoming fierce advocates for them and for their families.
Contact our offices today at 770-285-5493 to speak with one of our experienced estate planning attorneys and discuss your questions. We look forward to serving you by putting together a plan that supports your family now and in the future. You don’t have to go through it alone, and you shouldn’t if you don’t have a thorough knowledge of what the laws mean to you specifically.
We look forward to serving you and your family.