Asset Limits for Couples When a Spouse Qualifies for Medicaid

Attorney Dan Krause talks about Wisconsin Medicaid rules for a couple. There are asset limits for what a spouse can keep if their spouse needs nursing care or assisted living care.

The Community Resource Allowance in Wisconsin allows the "community spouse" or "well spouse" to keep up to $130,380.00 (year 2021 number) of countable assets while their spouse qualifies for Medicaid. This number is a maximum. The community spouse may be only allowed to keep $50,000.00 depending on what the couple started with.


Hi, I'm Dan Krause from Krause Estate Planning & Elder Law Center, a friendly law firm. I want to tell you today about the amount that a community spouse is able to keep during a Medicaid crisis for their spouse. So where you have one spouse that's well and the other spouse that needs care in a nursing or assisted living facility or maybe extra nursing care at home. The community spouse is allowed to keep a certain amount of countable assets in Medicaid

Before we go into that, I just want to tell you that the friendly law firm does estate planning, wills, trust, powers of attorney, health care documents, elder law which includes Medicaid planning and helping people to preserve their assets through the need for nursing care. We also do probate and estate trust administration, which is helping people pick up the pieces after someone passes away and get on with their financial lives. 

A couple of weeks ago, I talked about the resources that someone is allowed to keep if they are going on Medicaid. 

Basically, the difference between countable and non-countable assets, and the amount of each that you are allowed to keep. 

So as a refresher, a person is allowed to keep $2,000 in countable assets and no more if they are going to qualify for Medicaid to pay for their nursing care or assisted living. 

If there is a couple though, the healthy spouse or the community spouse is allowed to keep up to $130,000 which is graduated every year and changes depending on the cost of living increase and they publish that number usually in December for the next year. 

So that's good news that the community spouse is allowed to keep up to $130,000 but it could be less than that. Now, the formula that's used in order to calculate how much the community spouse is allowed to keep is just half of everything that you start with, with a maximum of $130,000, and a minimum of $50,000. 

If you start with $260,000 in countable assets or more, the community spouse is allowed to keep $130,000 of those assets, and the spouse that needs the care is allowed to keep $2,000 - so that's a total of $132,000 between them. 

If the couple starts with less than $100,000 in assets, then the community spouse is allowed to keep $50,000 because $50,000 is half of $100,000 and $50,000 is the floor. 

For example, if a couple started with $70,000 in countable assets, the community spouse would be allowed to keep $50,000 because half of $70,000 is $35,000 which is less than the minimum, so the community spouse is allowed to keep the $50,000 in assets. 

I hope this has helped you understand a little bit about the asset limits that are allowed for a couple in a Medicaid case in Wisconsin. Each state is different, so I caution you, if you live in a different state, please check with your own rules and regulations and that state. 

But if you live in Wisconsin, this applies during the year or 2021. Of course, this number changes every year and it could change with different legislations. 

If you have questions about Medicaid qualifications or saving assets upon entering nursing home, please give us a call: (608) 344-5491.

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