Divorce and alimony rules and how they impact ex-spouses on or applying for Medicaid

Last updated: July 09, 2020
Medicaid Long Term Care | Questions and AnswersCategory: BenefitsDivorce and alimony rules and how they impact ex-spouses on or applying for Medicaid
medicaidplanner Staff asked 3 months ago

My parents are divorced, and my dad is about to go on Medicaid and enter a nursing home. Currently he is paying court-ordered alimony to my mom, who counts on that income. Will he still be required to pay her alimony, or will Medicaid take that money to pay for his nursing home care?

1 Answers
medicaidplanner Staff answered 3 months ago

In all probability, your dad will no longer be able to pay alimony to your mom and instead will be required pay that money to the Medicaid-funded nursing home to go towards his cost of care. This is because Medicaid requires nursing home beneficiaries to pay all of their monthly income to the nursing home with the exception of a monthly personal needs allowance of approximately $20 to $200 (depending on the state in which one resides), and in some cases, a monthly maintenance needs allowance for a non-applicant spouse. 
 
When it comes to alimony and Medicaid, this can be a tricky situation since there is most likely a court order for your dad to pay your mom alimony, yet Medicaid likely requires your dad to instead pay that money to the nursing home. If he continues to pay the alimony, Medicaid likely won’t pay for nursing home care, as he is not paying the nursing home the amount Medicaid determined he should pay towards his care costs. Given the current situation, your dad will likely need to return to court to have the alimony payments ended.
 
It is important to mention that we cannot tell you with 100% certainty that the Medicaid agency in the state in which your dad resides will handle the situation in this manner. However, we can tell you that it is very likely Medicaid will require the money be paid to the nursing home rather than go towards alimony. Regardless, it is highly suggested that one consult with a Medicaid planning expert who is knowledgeable in this area. (Find a professional near you here). One can also contact their local state Medicaid agency for information. (Contact information can be found here).

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