Worried About Losing Both Your Spouse and Their Income When They Need Long-Term Care? MassHealth Has Options!

By Attorney Erin L. Nunes, Partner

Your husband needs long-term care, and MassHealth can help pay the bills. But the thought of losing his income while still needing to support yourself throws your financial future into uncertainty. Can you make ends meet on just your Social Security?

Don’t panic! MassHealth understands your needs. While they do expect some financial contribution towards your spouse’s care, several safeguards ensure you don’t face hardship. Here’s how it works:

Understanding the “Patient Paid Amount” (PPA):

MassHealth calculates a fair monthly contribution – the PPA – based on your spouse’s income. But before they take anything, they protect your financial stability:

  • Basic Needs Allowance: You get $72.80 each month for personal expenses.
  • Medicare and Insurance Premiums: MassHealth covers your Medicare premiums and any additional health or prescription insurance premiums.
  • Community Spouse Protection: This is the key! You get to keep a significant portion of your husband’s income to maintain your own livelihood.

Calculating Your Community Spouse Protection:

The amount you can keep depends on:

  • Your Own Income: If you have minimal income, you can likely keep most of your husband’s.
  • Standard Living Expense: MassHealth defines a basic cost of living you’re guaranteed.
  • Extra Housing Costs: If your housing expenses exceed the standard, they’ll be factored in.
  • Your Medical Expenses: Any special medical needs you have are considered.

Good News for You!

In your case, with a monthly income of just $600, you’re highly likely to keep all of your husband’s income!

Even with higher personal income, strategies exist to ensure you retain enough for your well-being. Remember, the income source matters, and an elder law attorney can help navigate the specifics.

Don’t Go It Alone – Seek Expert Advice:

Navigating these complexities can be overwhelming. Consulting a qualified elder law attorney is crucial. They can:

  • Advocate for your maximum community spouse protection.
  • Explain the nuances of different income sources and their impact.
  • Guide you through the application process and any potential roadblocks.

Your situation may not be identical to the example, but the key takeaway is – MassHealth prioritizes your well-being. With proper guidance, you can secure your financial future while your spouse receives the care they need. Don’t hesitate to seek legal help to ensure you get the full protection you deserve.

©Surprenant & Beneski, P.C. 35 Arnold Street, New Bedford, MA 02740, 336 South Street, Hyannis MA 02601 and 45 Bristol Drive, Easton MA 02375.  This article is for illustration purposes only.  This article does not constitute legal advice.  There is no attorney/client relationship created with Surprenant & Beneski, P.C. by this article.  DO NOT make decisions based upon information in this article.  Every family is unique and legal advice can only be given after an individual consultation with an elder law attorney.  Any decisions made without proper legal advice may cause significant legal and financial problems.