Should I Divorce My Spouse to receive Medicaid and Nursing Home Coverage in Florida?

by Kellen Bryant

Today, I’m going to answer the question: Should my spouse and I get a divorce in order for my spouse to receive Medicaid and nursing home coverage in the state of Florida?

This is a question that many people come to me or mention in my educational workshops that caregiving spouses worry over.

The caregiving spouse thinks,

“Oh my gosh, my spouse needs nursing care.”

“It’s going to cost $8,000 to $10,000 per month. What am I going to live on?”

“My friends are telling I’m going to have to get a divorce.”

Well, the answer to this issue in question is probably not.

Let’s cover why we probably do not want to do this and get a divorce.

To watch this video from my youtube channel, you can click here.

Avoid Disruption of the Family

First, it just disrupts the family.

I couldn’t imagine a family, a husband and wife together for 60 years, getting a divorce in these last years because one needs nursing care. It’s death until us part.

I’ve never heard of clients that feel settled with this notion, even at the thought of poverty. This is imperfect. Long married spouses, this might be very unsettling.

For shorter married spouses, my next two points are critically important.

Medicaid and Asset Protection Rules Protect the Family

The second reason we do not want to get a divorce is that the Medicaid rules already considered the first issue: disruption of the family.

The Medicaid rules recognize that if somebody needs nursing care, the healthy spouse is still in the community, and they need money to live on.  The healthy spouse needs a roof over his or her head.

The laws are there to protect this healthy spouse.

When Medicaid laws were drawn up, the law has distinguished between a single person and a married couple. A married couple has additional rules to protect the spouse that is living outside the nursing home, while having the spouse in a nursing home get their nursing care paid for.

Medicaid Rules for Married Couples Help Protect More Assets

Point three why we probably don’t want to get a divorce is that the married couple rules from nursing home Medicaid in Florida allow the family to protect more assets than the single family rules.

Just as a bare bone example, the single person is only allowed to have $2000 plus their house in Florida, and the stuff in their house and the car.

Now, the married couple rules allow the healthy spouse to keep $117,000 approximately, and it changes each year for inflation, so the healthy spouse can keep much more than $2000 in order to have money to live on.

Now anything over, then there’s other rules we need to discuss on planning and so forth to protect anything above $117,000.

Before you’re getting worried about having to divorce your spouse, just look and meet with an Elder Law attorney in your area. An elder law attorney should be able to make sure that you’re taking advantage of the rules in place to care for your spouse and provide enough money and assets for you to live on.

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