Many stressful events can occur during a marriage and having a spouse no
longer safely able to live at home due to declining health can be right
up at the top of the list. Long-term care is expensive. In Florida, the
monthly costs for living in a skilled nursing facility can range from
$6,000 - $8,000 per month.
Most couples have responsibly saved for their retirement years, but many
times the nest egg that funds their retirement can't stretch far enough
to include the costs of long-term care. If the couple doesn't have
long-term care insurance then often they have to turn to the Florida Medicaid
long-term care programs for assistance with paying for the costs of long-term care.
When the spouses have to consider Medicaid for assistance with the costs
of skilled nursing care, the spouse who is going to remain living in the
house can be torn. He or she wants to do what is best for the spouse in
declining health, but how will they be able to both maintain the home
and pay for long-term care?
Florida Medicaid realizes that the spouse remaining in the home (the community
spouse) needs to have a minimum amount of income and assets on which to
live. If the community spouse's income is below the Medicaid minimum
threshold for monthly income, then the community spouse gets to keep enough
of the spouse in declining health's income to get him or her up to
the community spouse minimum monthly income amount. Sometimes, due to
costs such as mortgages and other living expenses, the community spouse
can have extra money over the minimum income amount diverted to her from
the spouse in declining health's income.
In the middle of an extremely difficult and emotional time, it can be a
comfort to the community spouse to find out that she or he may be able
to keep a portion of the spouse in declining health's income in order
to remain living in the marital home.