Can I Keep My Pension if I Go On Medicaid?


Medicaid helps cover the costs of long-term care, nursing home costs and other medical expenses. However, Medicaid only provides coverage to people with limited income and limited countable assets.  If you receive a pension, the amount may be too high for you to qualify for Medicaid to help get the cost of nursing home care covered.

Before you apply for Medicaid, you should speak with an experienced elder law attorney about how your pension could affect your eligibility for Medicaid. A lawyer who works in the area of Medicaid planning can provide assistance in creating an advanced plan to protect as much of your income and assets as possible and help you qualify for Medicaid coverage.  Medicaid has a “look-back period” that could disqualify you from eligibility for nursing home coverage if you have transferred assets out of your name.  Planning ahead before you need nursing home care is one of the best things you can do.

Can I Keep My Pension if I go on Medicaid?

A pension is considered countable income for Medicaid purposes. Medicaid uses a formula to determine how much of your countable income must be used to help pay your nursing home costs.  If the amount of your pension, along with any other income you have, puts you over the allowable income limit ($2,199/month in 2015) the use of a  Qualified Income Trust could help you meet the income test.

If you are married and your spouse does not reside in a nursing home (the “community spouse”), your spouse may be entitled to keep a portion of your pension income. The community spouse’s own separate income is taken into account in determining whether they are entitled to keep any of the patient’s income, and if so, the amount they may keep. Medicaid rules regarding pensions and other income are complicated.  Before you need nursing home care or apply for Medicaid benefits, speak with a Medicaid planning attorney at the Elder Law Firm of Clements & Wallace, P.L. to learn about how your pension affects your Medicaid eligibility.