** This article has been revised from its original version which was published on December…
When a loved one goes into a nursing home it can be a difficult transition for the whole family. This can be especially true for the “healthy spouse” who stays at home while his or her spouse is in a nursing home.
The good news is that the “healthy spouse,” also known as the “community spouse,” has rights too. Be sure to take advantage of them, otherwise you can lose valuable assets.
The law provides important protections for the spouse of a Medicaid recipient still living in the community (healthy spouse). Congress wants to protect the community spouse from becoming impoverished and has established certain protections in order to do so.
These protections create options for you and your family. For example, there are spousal allowances that can be expanded via court order, spousal refusal and post-eligibility planning that can protect assets and income.
The bottom line is that just because one spouse is in a nursing home does not mean that the healthy spouse should be impoverished. The key is to know your rights and how to take advantage of them.