Hughes Summer 2011 Elder Law Newsletter (Spend Down of Assets for TITLE XIX) : Hughes News of Interest
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Hughes Summer 2011 Elder Law Newsletter (Spend Down of Assets for TITLE XIX)

by James Hughes on 10/16/11

CT Elder Law Newsletter

Summer: 2011

LAW OFFICE OF JAMES M. HUGHES
1432 POST ROAD, FAIRFIELD, CT, 06824
PH: 203-256-1977
hughes_james@sbcglobal.net
care until the 60-month period passes.

HOW MUCH OF YOUR ASSETS
CAN YOU KEEP IF YOUR SPOUSE
ENTERS A NURSING HOME?

A single person must spend-down assets to
$1,600 to qualify for TITLE XIX, but if you are
married and one spouse is going into a nursing
home, Connecticut permits the at-home a/k/
a “community spouse” to protect one-half of
the total amount of the couple’s assets, up to
$109,560.

In addition, the community spouse may also
retain the following exempt assets: The family
home, appliances, jewelry; one car, burial plot/
prepaid funeral plans for two; cash value of
permanent life insurance policy up to $1,500.

SPEND-DOWN OF EXCESS ASSETS:

The couple is allowed to spend-down excess
assets on the following (to name a few):
Purchase a new (i. e. more expensive) home
and/or car-because they are exempt assets; HINT:
Time to get that new Lexus or Mercedes Benz?
Payment of outstanding debts, mortgages;
Prepayment of mortgage, property taxes, and
estimated income or capital gains taxes; paying
for home repairs and improvements (new roof,
furnace, driveway, windows) ; Paying for travel;
Purchase of prepaid funeral and burial
expenses; Purchase of furniture, household
goods and personal effects; Payment of legal and
medical bills;
N.B. The house must be deeded to the
Community Spouse ASAP, and under special
circumstances, may be able to be deeded to a child
that has lived with you for 2-years & taken care of
you or to a sibling with an equity interest;

TIMING IS EVERYYTHING!

The biggest no-no is giving away (i.e. gifting)
your assets during the 5-year lookback period
prior to applying for Medicaid. N.B. You can
make gifts, but you must wait 60 months and then
apply for Medicaid.
That 60 months is called the “lookback” period,
which is the time period during which Medicaid is
allowed to examine your assets and gifts. HINT:
If you are close to the 5th anniversary of your gift,
consider private payment of the nursing home

EXEMPT ASSETS:

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE
BETWEEN MEDICARE &
MEDICAID?

Medicare is a government health insurance
program for individuals over the age of 65.
It’s important to know that Medicare does pay
for some nursing home care, but it is limited
to “medically necessary skilled nursing” (NOT
palliative care) and it will only cover up to 100
days.
In most situations Medicare is limited to 20
days, provided skilled care is required and a
doctor has to write a prescription for that. The
remaining 80-day component falls under a
category of care called Medicare Part A. This
is for skilled care for curative, rehabilitative
(NOT palliative) treatment. If during the 80 day
period a patient fails to thrive or refuses to do the
therapy, then that will trigger an event where the
patient will drop off of Medicare coverage and
go to private pay. The medical condition is a/k/a
long term care condition.
Medicaid is the U.S. health program for people
and families with low incomes and resources. It
is a means-tested program that is jointly funded
by the state and federal governments, and is
managed by State of Connecticut. People served
by Medicaid are U.S. citizens only, including low-
income adults, their children, and people with
certain disabilities. Medicaid is the largest source
of funding for medical and health-related services
for people with limited income in the United
States.
THE FOUR MOST IMPORTANT ELDER
LAW DOCUMENTS:
It is important to have updated documents
available to help you in your time of need:
1. Power of Attorney: You appoint someone
to help you take care of all matters for
you;
2. Health Care Instructions: Comprises:
a Living Will; Appointment of Health
Care Representative; Appointment of your
chosen Conservator; Designation of Organ
Donorship;
3. Last Will & Testament.
4. Elder Law/TITLE XIX Planning: Call

CT Elder Law Newsletter

LAW OFFICE OF JAMES M. HUGHES
Summer: 2011
1432 POST ROAD, FAIRFIELD, CT, 06824
PH: 203-256-1977
hughes_james@sbcglobal.net
Attorney Jim Hughes @ 203-256-1977

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