Spousal impoverishment refers to the concern that the community spouse will be left destitute because of the high cost of nursing home care. Most states have special rules intended to protect the community spouse by allowing the community spouse to retain a certain amount of the families resources and income to meet her monthly support and maintenance needs. To maximize the benefits that can be made available to the community spouse, one should consult with an experienced elder law attorney as soon as the possibility of nursing home care arises. If one waits until the last minute, one may have less options.
Since the State intends to provide Medicaid only when you have spent down almost everything you own, and the local department of social services’ role is to verify that you have done so, you should seek independent legal advice and not depend on the advice or determination of your local department of social services, social workers or nursing home admissions directors.
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