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Spousal Refusal & Spousal Exemption

Married couples are placed in a tough position when one spouse requires long-term care. The costs of long-term care, combined with a lifetime of hard work and savings, can leave couples feeling like they must choose between qualifying for Medicaid benefits and maintaining the quality of life they have earned.

This is not a choice you have to make, and an experienced Medicaid planning attorney can help you find a better solution. At Staten Island law firm of Angiuli & Gentile, LLP, we have been representing families for more than 30 years, focusing our efforts on finding workable solutions to these difficult issues.

What Is Spousal Refusal

In order to allow a spouse to qualify for Medicaid benefits, he or she must reduce the income that is subject to the Medicaid “look back” period, during which the government can look at the past five years of assets for funding to pay for long-term care.

In order to reduce the amount of assets subject to the “look back,” the spouse not in need of care can refuse to be responsible for his or her spouse’s medical expenses. As a result, only the assets in the Medicaid recipient’s name are considered for eligibility. Once spousal refusal takes place, we can assist in transferring assets to the other spouse’s name.

Spousal Refusal Is A Positive Action

The concept of spousal refusal in Medicaid planning should not be mistaken for a refusal to uphold marital vows to stand with a spouse in sickness and in health. Spousal refusal is a positive action, protecting the interests of both spouses in the event one of them needs long-term care.

The Spousal Exemption

The most efficient way to transfer assets in such situations is to take advantage of New York state’s spousal exemption. This allows assets to be transferred into the name of a spouse not receiving benefits in order to protect the couple’s assets from being confiscated by the nursing home. The transfer is not subject to the “look back” period.

We’ll Take It From Here

Our lawyers are ready to walk you through the process of preserving your assets and ensuring Medicaid liability. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.