Resource (Asset) Rules


In order to be eligible for Medi-Cal benefits, a nursing home resident may have no more than $2,000 in “countable” assets.

The spouse of a nursing home resident–called the ‘community spouse’– is limited to one half of the couple’s joint assets up to $119,220 (in 2015) in “countable” assets. This figure changes each year to reflect inflation. This figure is higher in some states, even up to the full maximum of $119,220.

All assets are counted against these limits unless the assets fall within the short list of “noncountable” assets. These include the following:

  • Personal possessions, such as clothing, furniture, and jewelry.

  • One motor vehicle.

  • The applicant’s principal residence.

  • (Under the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA), principal residences may be deemed noncountable only to the extent their equity is less than $500,000, with the states having the option of raising this limit to $750,000. In all states and under the DRA, the house may be kept with no equity limit if the Medi-Cal applicant’s spouse or another dependent relative lives there). As of January 2015 California has not implemented this provision.

  • Prepaid funeral plans and a small amount of life insurance.

  • Assets that are considered “unavailable” for one reason or another.

The Home

Depending on the state, nursing home residents do not have to sell their homes in order to qualify for Medi-Cal.

Under the DRA, principal residences may be deemed noncountable only to the extent their equity is less than $500,000, with the states having the option of raising this limit to $750,000. As of January 2015, California has not implemented this provision.

In some states, the home will not be considered a countable asset for Medi-Cal eligibility purposes as long as the nursing home resident intends to return home; in other states, the nursing home resident must prove a likelihood of returning home. In all states and under the DRA, the house may be kept with no equity limit if the Medi-Cal applicant’s spouse or another dependent relative lives there.

#MediCalGuide

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