Understanding Asset Rules for Medicaid

Many seniors take advantage of Medicaid for health insurance coverage, nursing home care, or, in the state of New York, home health care.  Because Medicaid is a joint program between the federal government and the states, it is important to understand the rules that apply where you live.  Here we will review the resource or asset rules that apply to the program for nursing home or home health care recipients, both generally and in the state of New York.

Individuals who have a disability, are blind or are age 65 or over, or who require nursing home care, must pass a resource test to be eligible for Medicaid.  In New York, in order to be eligible for Medicaid, a person’s assets must be $14,250 or less.  Income is restricted to $792 per month if the person continues to reside in the community.  Nursing home residents are permitted a small monthly income for personal needs.

Asset rules also apply to a nursing home resident’s spouse, known as the “community spouse.”  In New York, the Community Spouse Resource Allowance (CSRA) is $74,820, or half of the joint assets of the couple, up to $113,640 in countable assets.

The community spouse is also entitled to a small amount of income, what is known as a minimum monthly maintenance needs allowance (MMMNA).  For income in excess of the MMMNA, 25 percent may go to the cost of the nursing home resident’s care.

Assets that do not count against the resource limits are those defined as “noncountable,” including personal possessions like furniture and clothing.  A primary residence and an automobile can be considered noncountable, with certain restrictions.  Prepaid funeral arrangements, some life insurance, and assets that are “inaccessible” can also be considered noncountable.

For more information about New York Medicaid rules, visit http://www.health.ny.gov/health_care/medicaid/. For more information about our elder law services, visit www.elderlawnewyork.com.

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