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Life On The Medicaid Personal Needs Allowance


When it comes to the generosity of publicly funded programs, Floridians usually get the short end of the stick.  Companies and government entities penalize people for being poor in so many ways that you would think they were competing to find the most clever way to do it.  Florida is one of only 11 states that have not adopted the Medicaid expansion, leaving numerous working adults with no feasible options for health insurance.  Florida courts suspend people’s driver’s licenses not only for traffic tickets and DUI but also for being late in paying criminal fines or court-ordered child support and for drug possession convictions; meanwhile, the only way to get to your job in Florida is to drive there.  Meanwhile, Florida’s minimum wage is only $11.00 per hour, while the costs of rent, utilities, and groceries are sky-high.  One area where Floridians have it better than residents of most states is that Florida’s personal needs allowance for Medicaid nursing home residents is among the highest in the country, but the lifestyle you can afford with it is not something you would wish on your worst enemy.  If you don’t have any particular goals the first time you meet with a Tampa estate planning attorney, you should focus on financial moves that enable you to avoid relying on Medicaid for nursing home care.

Uncle Sam Is the World’s Stingiest Landlord

Medicaid pays for nursing home care, but it does not exactly provide plush accommodations.  Nursing homes are supposed to provide toiletries and clothing for residents, but what they provide is comparable to what you would get in prison, except with a hospital gown instead of an orange jumpsuit.  Anything you want beyond these necessities, you must pay for with the monthly stipend Medicaid provides, known as the personal needs allowance, or be fortunate enough to receive as a gift from a family member or friend on the outside.  Even worse, nursing homes often make residents pay for products and services that should be free, such as haircuts or denture glue.

The personal needs allowance in Florida is $130 per month, which is higher than most states; the federal minimum is $30.  If the personal needs allowance were to increase based on inflation or on Social Security payments, the federal minimum would be $180 per month. A recent article by Matt Sedensky of Associated Press tells of the austere conditions in which Medicaid nursing home residents live.  They must save up for months to buy a new pair of pants or shoes or to send their grandchildren a Christmas gift; some go barefoot.  They rejoice when someone is generous enough to buy them shower gel, toothpaste, or a can of diet soda.

If you reside in a nursing home and receive Medicaid nursing care benefits, your Social Security check goes straight to pay for your nursing home care.  When you die, the Florida probate court lets Medicaid seek reimbursement from your estate from the meager sums it paid for your nursing home care while you were alive.  Even if you leave the rest of your estate plan up to chance, but long-term care insurance.

Contact David Toback With Questions About Staying Out of Poverty in Your Golden Years

A Central Florida estate planning lawyer can help you make a plan for paying for your long-term care needs, even if you have no ambitions except to continue living modestly.  Contact David Toback in Tampa, Florida to set up a consultation.



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