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Medical Assistance for Long-Term Care Services Community Spouse Asset Allowance (Archive)

An asset assessment is used to calculate which assets the community spouse can keep. This is called the Community Spouse Asset Allowance (CSAA). All assets of the couple that do not make up the CSAA are evaluated in the asset eligibility determination of the long-term care (LTC) spouse.

Once the CSAA is determined, the couple may determine which of the couple’s assets will be included in the CSAA. There are many factors that a couple must consider, including tax implications as well as personal factors such as the desire to retain ownership of a particular asset. The decision on how to divide the couple’s assets is up to the couple. The couple can contact a tax accountant, an attorney or someone who specializes in estate planning for questions unrelated to Medical Assistance (MA) policy.

Determining the Community Spouse Asset Allowance

The CSAA is based on the couple’s total countable assets, regardless of availability, as determined by the asset assessment. One-half of the total value of the couple’s countable assets is then compared to the minimum and maximum CSAA. The CSAA is one-half of the total value of the couple’s countable assets, except:

  • If the total countable assets is less than the minimum, the CSAA is the minimum.

  • If the total countable assets is greater than the maximum, the CSAA is the maximum.

The minimum/maximum amounts used are the amounts in in effect at the time of the request for MA for Long-Term Care Services (MA-LTC). The amounts are updated annually.

Redetermining the Community Spouse Asset Allowance

The LTC spouse and the community spouse will be notified that the CSAA has been redetermined if the following conditions occur:

  • It is discovered that the couple owned additional assets on the asset assessment effective date, which were not included in the assessment.

  • The asset assessment effective date was not valid because the person did not have a continuous period of institutionalization. See MA-LTC Asset Assessment for more information.

Increased Community Spouse Asset Allowance

The CSAA is increased in the following situations:

  • A court, due to a legal separation, orders an amount of the couple’s assets for the community spouse that is greater than the CSAA.

  • The community spouse qualifies for additional income-producing assets to meet the community spouse’s monthly maintenance needs. 

Additional Income-Producing Assets to Meet Community Spouse’s Monthly Maintenance Needs

A community spouse may keep additional income-producing assets above the CSAA, if he or she cannot meet his or her monthly maintenance needs with the income allocated from the LTC spouse combined with his or her own income.

The couple must meet the following requirements for the community spouse to keep additional income-producing assets above the CSAA:

  • The community spouse’s income, combined with any income allocation from the LTC spouse, is less than the calculated monthly maintenance needs.

  • The CSAA must already include as many income-producing assets as possible.

  • The LTC spouse must make available, and the community spouse must accept, the community spouse income allocation. The couple cannot refuse to make or accept a community spouse income allocation as a way to reduce the community spouse’s income in order to qualify for additional income-producing assets.

  • The purchase of an income-producing asset for the benefit of the community spouse, under this provision, must occur before MA-LTC may be approved.

  • The amount of assets above the CSAA is limited to an amount necessary to produce the additional income needed to meet the community spouse's monthly maintenance needs.

  • Assets already producing an income cannot be used to purchase another income-producing asset, unless the asset purchased produces more income.

Transfers from the LTC Spouse to the Community Spouse

Assets considered available to the community spouse through the CSAA must be put in the community spouse’s name no later than the LTC spouse’s first annual renewal. At the LTC spouse’s first annual renewal, all assets still in the name of the LTC spouse are evaluated in order to determine asset eligibility.

  • Income from an asset in the LTC spouse’s name is counted in the LTC income calculation even if it is income produced by an asset that is considered part of the CSAA. Therefore, it is in the best interests of the couple to transfer any income-producing asset in the name of the LTC spouse to the community spouse as soon as possible.

Transfers from the Community Spouse to the LTC Spouse

The community spouse must transfer ownership of assets in his or her name that are not included in the CSAA to the LTC spouse before MA-LTC eligibility may be approved. Transfer of ownership must be verified.

Community Spouse Does Not Make Assets Available to the LTC Spouse

The community spouse must make assets owned jointly or individually in excess of the CSAA available to the LTC spouse. If the community spouse does not make those assets available, the LTC spouse may still be found eligible for MA-LTC if the LTC spouse cannot use those assets without the consent of the community spouse, and if any of the following occurs:

  • the LTC spouse assigns the right to support from the community spouse to the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS);

  • the LTC spouse is unable to assign due to a physical or mental impairment; or

  • the denial of eligibility would cause an imminent threat to the LTC spouse's health and well-being.

When MA-LTC is approved under this provision, the county or tribal agency makes a referral to the county attorney’s office to determine if a cause of action exists against the community spouse.

Treatment of the Community Spouse’s Assets after MA-LTC Approval

Once MA-LTC has been approved, any additional assets acquired by the community spouse are not available to the LTC spouse, as long as there is no break in MA-LTC eligibility.

Legal Citations

Minnesota Statutes, section 256B.059