Effective July 1, the State of New Jersey Division of Medical Assistance and health Services (DMAHS) has raised the Minimum Monthly Maintenance Allowance (MMNA) for the spouse of a person who is on Medicaid. For individuals in nursing homes, the general rule is that all of the recipient’s income must be turned over to the facility as a cost-share, except for authorized deductions which include support of a spouse if the spouse’s own income is less than the Maintenance Allowance. The NJ MMMNA is now $1,991.25. The relevant regulation is N.J.A.C. 10:71-5.7, and here is the new MedCom No. 15-09, dated July 1m 2015. 15-09_2015_Community_Spousal_Maintenance_Allowance
In calculating the amount of this spousal support deduction, an excess shelter allowance is provided if shelter costs are in excess of $597.38. Also, if the spouse pays for utilities, a utility allowance of $491.00 per month is added to the base MMMNA.
Typically, these calculations are not done until after the applicant has been found to be resource-eligible (“after the spend-down”). This does not mean that all the excess assets have to be spent on the facility, and there are techniques available that preserve substantial assets for support of the spouse. Also, in some cases, the combined income of the spouses will not be enough to provide the spousal support amount. There is a special regulation for those cases, in which the community spouse can keep more assets than usual because the income is too low. You need to address these issues with your elder law attorney at the earliest possible time, well before you embark on a spend-down.
Call us for legal advice and assistance with Medicaid eligibility and asset protection, as well as applications and appeals … 732-382-6070