Good afternoon. I’m Tom Mitchell, one of the partners of Waller & Mitchell, and one of the things that I do is practice elder law, and one of the main questions I get fairly frequently about elder law is, “I have a family member who’s going to a nursing home. How are we going to pay for it?” And that’s a serious question with nursing home costs running anywhere from $6,000.00 to $8,000.00 a month.
There are some public assistance programs to help pay for the nursing home care of an individual, and that’s the government that we’re talking about so they define indigency a little bit different than you and I do.
For a married couple the spouse who’s staying at home can have approximately $120,000.00 of liquid assets. The spouse going into the nursing home can only have $2,000.00 of liquid assets. The spouse going into the nursing home also cannot have monthly income of more than $2,025.00 a month. If there is more income than that, we have to set up a special trust to capture that income and pay it to the spouse or the nursing home.
Basically what happens is the nursing home spouse’s income is paid first to the spouse staying at home to make sure they’re not impoverished. Then the nursing home person gets to keep $35.00 for personal expenses – toothpaste, hairbrush – and then the balance of the income is paid to the nursing home. The rest of the expenses of the nursing home is paid by the state through the Medicaid Program.
So there in a nutshell is how you can help pay for the nursing home care of an individual in your family who may have to go.
Once again, this is Tom Mitchell, one of the lawyers of Waller & Mitchell. Our telephone number is 727-847-2288.