New Rules for Medical Assistance/EW

Chris & Laurie Kemp, CSAs

2017 Rules for Medical Assistance MA EW Twin Cities MNWe recently attended a talk on the new rules for Medical Assistance and Waivers given by attorney Brenna Galvin. Changes were effective in mid-2016. Though the changes affected many of the Home and Community Based Waiver programs (CADI, BI, CAC & DD), we are going to focus on Elderly Waiver- the waiver for those 65 and over.

Medical Assistance Eligibility (MA)

  • Minnesota Resident – You must live in Minnesota with intent to become a resident. So a senior who moved here to be closer to relative may meet this as soon as they move.
  • Meet a categorical basis of eligibility (i.e. over age 65 or blind or disabled)
  • Meet financial eligibility rules.

Financial Eligibility

While there are many nuances to what will be included and might be excluded in determining financial eligibility, here are some basics. Here are two terms we will use: Applicant – the person applying for MA/EW; Community Spouse – the Applicant’s spouse who is not applying for MA/EW.

  • Assets – the Applicant’s assets must be $3000 or less, the Community Spouse may keep $120,900 in assets. This is a change in that prior to July 1 the assets were divided equally.
  • Homestead – possibly excluded if the Applicant and/or Community Spouse continue to live in it. However, if the home exceeds equity limits, they may be given a couple of years to sell it and apply funds towards care.
  • Excluded Assets: One car, tangible personal property. However if your tangible personal property includes a valuable painting or coin collection, those may not be excluded.
  • Income – The income of the Applicant will be applied to their care, the income of the Community Spouse is protected
  • Income Exception – if the Community Spouse’s gross income does not meet the Minimum Monthly Allowance, they may qualify for an allocation of the Applicant’s income.

All of this is, of course, full of nuances that may apply to your situation. You should consult your county social worker or an attorney for the specifics of your situation. But by knowing what might be possible, you can ask better questions. In complex situations you may need or want to engage an attorney with an elder law specialty.

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