Does a nursing home take your social security payments?

Toppin asked...

What can a nursing home take for payment? My step father had a stroke last year, his care is now being funded by Medicaid in a nursing home. My mother depends on his Social Security payment to help maintain the house, pay his doctor bill etc. The nursing home has taken his last Social Security payment which left her not having enough to cover normal expenses. Does a nursing home take your social security payments normally? Is there anything that my mother can do?

Expert Answer

Steve Weisman hosts the nationally syndicated radio show A Touch of Grey, heard on more than 50 stations, including WABC in New York City and KRLA in Los Angeles. He is a practicing lawyer specializing in estate planning and is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. He's a public speaker and commentator who has appeared on many radio and television shows throughout the country, and he's the legal editor of Talkers magazine, the preeminent trade publication of talk radio. His latest book is The Truth About Avoiding Scams.

Fortunately, the Medicaid rules provide for, what is referred to as a "Community Spouse Income Allowance" in this situation.  If your mother's income is not sufficient to meet her needs, Medicaid authorizes her to receive some or even all of her husband's income if the community spouse's (your mother's) income is below the Community Spouse Minimum Monthly Needs Allowance.  This amount is adjusted, by law, every year.  Presently the amount is $1,750 for every state except Alaska, where it is $2,187.50 and Hawaii, where it is $2,012.50.  In addition, she may also be eligible for additional amounts of your father's income through the determination of a Community Spouse Monthly Housing Allowance.  Finally, if these amounts as provided by law do not result in your mother having full access to needed income from your father, she can appeal for a higher allowance.  She should consult an experienced lawyer as soon as possible