The death of a Medicaid recipient's spouse can significantly affect the amount of assets the Medicaid recipient has, and therefore his or her Medicaid eligibility. Proper planning ahead of time is critical.
Scenario: One spouse, the “institutional spouse”, is in a nursing home and is qualified to receive Medicaid benefits to pay for their care. The other spouse, the “community spouse,” remains at home. Typically, the institutional spouse dies first. But what if the community spouse passes first?
When one member of an elderly couple moves to a nursing home, even as a Medicaid beneficiary, proper estate and Medicaid planning must be done for both spouses. Failure to plan for the “community spouse” can have unintended consequences.
The issues arising when the community spouse dies first was the subject of a recent article in ElderLawAnswer.com titled “Staying Eligible for Medicaid after the Death of a Spouse.”
When one spouse passes away, especially the one not receiving benefits, it affects the surviving spouse in many financial ways that can jeopardize the very benefits keeping them in the nursing home and receiving the care they need.
Reference: ElderLawAnswer.com (October 2013) “Staying Eligible for Medicaid after the Death of a Spouse”