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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released the new annual spousal impoverishment figures for 2014. The full numbers are contained in the 2014 Medicaid Spousal Impoverishment Desk Reference, which you can download for FREE by clicking on the following link: https://medicaidplanning.org/2014-medicaid-numbers/

Here is a quick recap of the new figures and what they mean:

            2014 ASSET LIMITS

The New minimum Community Spousal Resource Allowance (CSRA) is $23,448. The new maximum CSRA is $117,240.

Reminder, in the straight deduction states the Max CSRA is the asset cap. Any asset amount below that is sufficient to qualify for long-term care Medicaid. For example, if a couple has $100,000 in countable assets, then in the straight deduction states they do not need to spend down any further. Also, in straight deduction states the minimum CSRA never comes into play.

In the one-half deduction states, the minimum and maximums are both used. Take the couple with the $100,000. In a one-half deduction state, the CSRA calculation would take the total countable resources and divide by 2 to yield the CSRA of $50,000.

Where the maximum is used in a one-half deduction state is when the countable resources exceed twice the maximum. For instance, a couple with $300,000 would only be able to set aside $117,240 for the CSRA. The remaining assets would be exposed to a spend down.

The minimum CSRA is a floor and only factors in when the total amount of assets divided by 2 fall below the minimum. For example, if a couple has $40,000, then the CSRA would not be $20,000 because that’s below the minimum. The CSRA in that case would become the minimum $23,448.

            2014 INCOME LIMITS

The Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance (MMMNA) is $1,938.75 (for all states except Alaska and Hawaii). The new maximum amount is $2,931. The Maintenance Needs Allowances are set mid-year and these numbers remain in effect until July 1, 2014. This figure is used to determine how much of the patient’s income a community spouse can keep.

The new Community Spouse Monthly Housing Allowance is $581.63 (for all states except Alaska and Hawaii). This number also changes mid-year and remains in effect until July 1, 2014.

            2014 HOME EQUITY LIMITS

The new minimum Home Equity Limit is $543,000. In the handful of states that have adopted an upper limit, that amount is $814,000 for 2014. This limit was set before the collapse of the housing market. As we start to see the housing market recover, this equity limit will start to become a serious factor for long-term care patients. NOTE: This limit does not apply if the patient is married.

            ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

If you want more information on how to calculate the CSRA or how to maximize the conversion of excess assets to income you should consider purchasing the Medicaid Planning Guidebook or taking the Medicaid Planning course. We provide a full range of support for advisors of all varieties to assist with their Medicaid Planning cases, including advisor mentoring and case design services. We also offer a full range of Medicaid Compliant Annuities and other valuable planning tools to assist with solving the most difficult of Medicaid Planning issues. You can make 2014 a more profitable year by learning how to help people navigate long-term care Medicaid eligibility and asset protection!