The Wisconsin Department of Health Services recently announced the “minimum monthly maintenance needs allowance” (“MMMNA”) will be increased from $2,873.34 to $2,903.34 starting on July 1, 2021. As part of laws designed to prevent spousal impoverishment due to the high cost of long-term care, the “community spouse” (who is the spouse of an individual receiving long-term care Medicaid benefits and who is still living in the “community”) is allowed to receive some or all of the Medicaid spouse’s monthly income in order to reach the MMMNA amount if the community spouse’s monthly income is not at that level. If the community spouse’s monthly income is greater than the MMMNA amount, then the community spouse will not be allowed to receive any of the Medicaid spouse’s monthly income.
As an example, let’s look at Oliver and Lisa’s situation. Oliver, the Medicaid spouse, is currently in the Green Valley Nursing Home with Medicaid paying for his long-term care. Lisa, the community spouse, is living at home on the farm. If Oliver’s monthly income is $2,000 and Lisa’s monthly income is only $1,000, Lisa will now be allowed to receive $1,903.34 every month from Oliver’s monthly income starting on July 1, 2021, which gets her up to the new MMMNA amount of $2,903.34. If Oliver’s monthly income is only $1,900 (instead of $2,000), then Lisa will still be able to receive all of Oliver’s monthly income because Oliver’s $1,900 plus Lisa’s $1,000 equals $2,900, which is less than the new MMMNA amount of $2,903.34. However, if Lisa’s monthly income is $3,000, then she will not be allowed to receive any of Oliver’s monthly income because her monthly income is already greater than the new MMMNA amount.