My parents have a joint checking account. How will this affect their Medicaid eligibility?
Your parents having a joint checking account will have no bearing on their Medicaid eligibility. This holds true even if only one of your parents is applying for Medicaid.
Let’s dig into this a bit deeper. For Medicaid eligibility purposes, there are financial requirements, which consist of an income and asset limit. Generally speaking, as of 2019, the income limit for long-term care Medicaid for a single applicant is $2,313 / month, and the asset limit is $2,000. (Please note that the income limit is usually much lower for a state’s regular Medicaid program, which for seniors, is often referred to as Aged, Blind and Disabled Medicaid. For state specific income and asset limits by program, click here).
When it comes to calculating income for long-term care Medicaid, which includes nursing home Medicaid and services and supports via Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Medicaid Waivers, Medicaid only counts the income of the applicant spouse. However, even with a married couple having a joint checking account, it should be easy to differentiate one spouse’s income deposits from the other spouse’s income deposits. For Aged, Blind and Disabled Medicaid, the income of both spouses is calculated towards the income limit, regardless of whether one spouse or both spouses apply for Medicaid. In both of these situations, having a joint checking account does not impact Medicaid eligibility. (Click here for more information about how Medicaid counts income).
Moving on to assets, all assets of a married couple are considered jointly owned, regardless of who is named as the owner. Therefore, for nursing home Medicaid or a HCBS Medicaid Waiver, the Medicaid agency adds up all of the couple’s assets, and each spouse is considered to be the owner of 50% of the assets. As a side note, when only one spouse of a married couple applies for long-term care Medicaid, there is a community spouse resource allowance, which allows the non-applicant spouse to retain a higher amount of assets. When it comes to Aged, Blind and Disabled Medicaid, the combined assets of the couple are counted towards the asset limit. So, as with income, a joint checking account will not impact Medicaid approval for benefits when it comes to assets.