Fifteen Myths Regarding Medicaid Nursing Home Benefits in Maine Myth 3 and 4

This series highlights the eligibility rules for Maine Medicaid (MaineCare) nursing home benefits and dispels certain myths the families that work with our office often hear.

Myth 3: If I Put My Property in My Spouse’s Name, I Will Be Eligible for Medicaid.

The Truth: This is not true when an individual is applying for nursing home benefits. All of the couple’s countable assets are considered, regardless of how they are titled. After an application for Medicaid nursing home benefits is filed, the community spouse has twelve months to re-title assets from the name of the spouse in the nursing home (“the institutionalized spouse”). This is because after the application is filed, only the institutionalized spouse’s assets are counted. In many cases, however, it is best to transfer assets to the community spouse before the application is even filed. The rules are different for residential care and nursing services in the home.

Myth 4: I Can Keep All of Our Marital Property and My Inherited Property When My Spouse Gets Medicaid.

The Truth: When a married person applies for MaineCare nursing home benefits, DHHS considers assets in the name of either spouse or in the joint names of both spouses (his, hers, or theirs). In addition to the exempt assets, a spouse who remains at home can keep the Community Spouse Resource Allowance, which is $126,420 as of 2019. In certain cases, the allowance for the community spouse can be increased. The rules are different for residential care and nursing services in the home.

Rachel Trafton, Esq
Maine Elder Law Firm