Wes Coulson explains what you can do to help increase Medicaid asset allowances in Illinois.
Hi! I’m Wes Coulson from Coulson Elder Law, proudly serving clients throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area and beyond. I’d like to welcome you to our Elder Law and Estate Planning Minute. We do these to help educate people, give them some little tips, and especially to let them know the questions they need to ask, things that they’ve maybe not thought of. Our thought on that is that we can help you best if you realize the things that you need help and that we can help you with. So I hope you enjoy. Thanks!
I haven’t often used these for an editorial, but today is going to be an editorial and call for action. Especially since we are at a time of inflation that affects basic goods and services. It is high time for Illinois to increase its various Medicaid asset allowances. History, until 2012, Illinois allowances were whatever the federal Medicaid maximums were; in 2012, in a decision was made to temporarily freeze those because Illinois was on the more liberal end of what they would allow people to keep. Boy, has that changed over the course of the last ten years.
So, let me talk about some of those allowances. First, if you’re a nursing home resident, you only get to keep $30 a month of your income, by the way, that’s the number that started when Medicaid was passed into law in 1965. You can’t meet incidental needs on $30 a month. Illinois still only allows a single, or widowed, person a meager $2,000 in assets. In Missouri, where I also practice, that went up to $5,000 and now, indexed to inflation, for 2022, it’s $5,035 a month.
The bigger things relate to a situation in which you have a married couple with one spouse in a nursing home. The first is the income allowance for the, what’s known as, community spouse. So, how much that person, who is not in the nursing home, gets to keep to live on. Illinois has frozen that $2,739 a month. The maximum, which is applicable in a lot of other states, and can be in Missouri, is now up to $3,435 a month. That’s a big difference. In terms of the assets that the community spouse gets to keep, accountable assets, money and other financial resources, the money they would need beyond income to pay for any big ticket items: fixing a furnace, fixing a roof, fixing an engine, buying a new car; in Illinois, that has been stuck, since 2012, at $109,560. Now, with just reflecting inflation, that federal maximum is up to $137,400.
People can’t live in 2022, and going forward, with what was enough money back in 2012. If you’re hearing this, please contact your state senator, your state representative, your governor’s office, and let them know. It’s high time for Illinois to increase those allowances. Thanks!
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