What is Prevention of Spousal Impoverishment?
Prevention of Spousal Impoverishment is a federal law that provides a way to protect some of a person’s assets for a spouse when they are living in a nursing facility, getting nursing care, or asking for Home and Community-Based Services. The law also allows for setting aside income for a spouse or dependents, if needed.
Division of Assets
If your spouse must live in a nursing facility or needs help through Home and Community-Based (HCB) Services but you do not, a special provision called “Division of Assets” may help protect some of your resources. Anyone entering a nursing facility or asking for help through HCB should ask about Division of Assets, even if they do not plan to apply for MO HealthNet coverage.
Without a Division of Assets, all of your non-exempt resources will be counted towards the resource limit. Having a Division of Assets will allow you to set aside a certain amount of your assets as a married couple, called the “spousal share.” There is a minimum and maximum amount that can be counted as the spousal share. Assets may include anything owned by either spouse except for exempt assets, like the home you live in, personal belongings, or a car.
If you do not agree with the amount determined as your “spousal share” or you believe the amount needs to be higher to support the spouse not entering nursing care, you have the right to discuss this with our team or request a hearing. You can only request a hearing before you or your spouse applies for nursing home care or HCB services through MO HealthNet. If you would like to request a hearing after you or your spouse has applied for MO HealthNet, you will need to file an appeal to have the determination evaluated by an impartial hearing officer.
NOTE: Having a Division of Assets alone does not mean you have the right to any cash benefits or medical coverage.
Allotment of Income
If you or your spouse are getting MO HealthNet benefits and living in a nursing facility, there is a provision that allows you to set aside some (or all) of that person’s income for the spouse or dependents who are not living in a nursing facility. This is called Allotment of Income.
In order to get this, the spouse or dependents not living in a nursing facility must have an income below a certain limit, called the Minimal Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance. If the income is below the limit, the person entering nursing care may be able to set aside income as an allotment to the spouse or dependents. The amount set can be as much as the person wishes, as long as it doesn’t bring the spouse or dependents income above the Monthly Maintenance Need Allowance. This limit is set by law and varies depending on indi-vidual situations.
NOTE: An allotment from a person in the nursing facility does not entitle the spouse or dependents to any cash benefits or medical benefits from the state.