Yes, it’s true, not all of a nursing home patient’s income has to be lost to nursing home payments!
Whether we live alone or with a spouse some expenses are static (house and car payments, homeowner’s and car insurance, cable, phone, yard maintenance, snow removal, property taxes, modest gifts to family members, etc.) Others decrease very little when a spouse moves into long-term care, such as utilities. Sure, maybe you don’t need two cell phones anymore and the grocery bill goes down a little, but living indoors these days can easily require all, or almost all, of two retirement incomes!
Especially when the spouse with the higher income is the one who goes into care, the loss of their income can be anywhere from a mere pinch to a total disaster. It makes no sense to be forced onto food stamps or out into the lawn with a push mower just because your husband or wife needs the degree of care only a nursing home can provide. For 2018 the state of Michigan determines the average cost of a nursing home to be $8261 per month. Per month!
When the at-home (“community”) spouse needs additional monies to maintain the household alone, I can petition the Probate Court to enter an order to divert some or all of your spouse’s income to you.