Medicaid Eligibility: A Brief Overview of the Income Criteria

Obtaining Medicaid benefits is a complex and delicate process. Medicaid is available for individuals who are in need of financial assistance. Many elderly individuals seek Medicaid to make up for a lack of finances in their retirement years, so that they can afford the long-term care they need without spending themselves into poverty.

Medicaid eligibility in the state of Florida requires that applicants fulfill criteria regarding both their assets and their income. We have previously discussed some of the assets which are excluded from calculations for the purpose of qualifying for Medicaid. Today, we have provided some detailed information on the financial component often referred to as “the income test.”

Income matters for Medicaid applicants

For purposes of Medicaid, income means a great deal. Florida places a cap on income for Medicaid eligibility. For 2016, lawmakers placed the cap at $2,199 per month. Income includes just about anything that draws in money. Income includes money from employment, bonuses, IRAs, retirement funds, social security, and other sources of regular money.

Keep in mind that Medicaid income calculations are based on your gross income rather than your net income. This means that Medicaid considers income that you do not have a legal right to spend, such as taxes which are withheld from a paycheck. The rationale is that you receive a financial benefit from withheld money. The income test calculates any benefits you receive per month like tax breaks or paid insurance premiums. If you are even a dollar over the maximum allowable income limit then you could be disqualified from Medicaid eligibility. It it possible to cure this problem with a Qualified Income Trust that is properly funded.

What about my spouse?

A community spouse’s income does not matter for purposes of the income test. A spouse who does not intend to collect Medicaid benefits does not have an income cap in order for the Medicaid applicant to receive benefits. This means that a spouse can earn as much as they want without affecting their spouse’s Medicaid eligibility.

A spouse of a Medicaid recipient is able to collect the Medicaid spouse’s income up to a certain point as joint marital income. Medicaid refers to this as the “Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance.” The minimum that the spouse may collect is $1,991 and a maximum of $2,981.

The spouse of a Medicaid recipient may petition for the remaining money to make up the difference. They may not petition to exceed the maximum amount, except in extraordinary circumstances.

When you should seek an attorney for Medicaid planning

Medicaid planning is tricky. The small details and nuances of the asset and income requirements can be incredibly complex and confusing. The laws surrounding Medicaid are numerous, and they are oftentimes extremely difficult to understand without the proper training. The average person in need of Medicaid is not in the best mindset to handle this on their own.

It is important to note that one small mistake can turn into a large scale problem. You need an attorney to prevent these mistakes and ensure you are prepared to qualify for Medicaid when the time comes. You deserve appropriate long-term care as you age without having to bankrupt yourself. Contact ProActive Legal Care Law Office and let’s start your planning process today!

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