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Medicaid and Nursing Home Expenses

At-home spouses will continue to receive benefits

Q. My husband is 84 and about to go into a nursing home. We have no assets or savings and live on his Social Security benefit and work pension. Will the government take all his income to pay for his nursing care and leave me with nothing?

A. If he hasn't already, your husband should apply for Medicaid as soon as possible. Under Medicaid rules, all of your husband's income will go toward his nursing home costs; however, you, as the at-home spouse, will be given a monthly allowance to live on from your husband's income — up to a maximum $2,739 per month. Medicaid will pay the balance of his nursing home care.

Carole Fleck is a senior editor at the AARP Bulletin.

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