Medicaid dilemma,

This dilemma has plagued many families, and I’m no different, but am struggling with knowing my wife will feel abandoned, which I desperately do not want to do. She is a quad due to the effects of 35 years of MS, which some of you are aware of.
Although we have savings, I have watched them dwindle for years. I left my paying job at 44 to care full time for my wife, and then 7 year old daughter. I had saved what, at that time, would have carried us through as an early, if not forced, retirement. My attitude, looking back at the post early retirement, is that I was still working, just not getting paid for it. This work was many times more difficult then the conventional paid for work I did, and it worsened as the years went on.
I’m now 64, my wife is in an ALF, and the years of caregiving has taken a physical toll on me. I see how fast the $’s are being used up, as my wife’s needs are now much more then I had expected. Let alone, my own living expenses, and possible future age related issues.
Divorce for preservation of finances is the issue. The way the rules of Medicaid are set up, it is available to those who qualify by the state definition of destitution. There are many families who find they must divorce, and diminish the finances of the spouse who needs the long term care. That way they legally qualify, after the look back period for Medical, which I think is 4-5 years, putting us at about 69-70ish. My concern is that divorce may make my wife feel so terribly insecure along with her MS cognitive issues.
I think you all can get the picture of the dilemma.
I love my wife and desperately don’t want her to hurt more then she already has been, yet I still need to protect both of us financially.
How do I ensure her care when we can’t continue to support 2 households, with hers being the most draining, by far.
I find myself hardly sleeping and thinking constantly about this issue starting around 3-4am. I can barely stay awake during the day. I still see her daily and take care of all appointments and therapy’s and medication needs. She’s very frail and fragile now, with severe osteoporosis. Numerous broken bones. Skull fracture, broken back and 3 months ago a broken femur. I’m obviously depressed and can’t think straight. I can’t help but feel like I’m failing both of us. I know that’s not the way to look at it, but life needs don’t change. You don’t get a pass because someone’s ill. I really feel boxed in.

I need some perspective within this and would appreciate some input.


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Good afternoon,
I am confused as to why Medicaid rules would be so different in your state. Have you spoken to an Elder Care attorney about this? They are often more knowledgeable about Medicaid rules than the poor dears at the Medicaid office. My parents did not have to divorce - they filed separately. Because my mother’s income was so low, she was eligible for Medicaid. If her income had been too great, it would have been put into a trust, thus making her eligible. This is what we had to do for my father. Our attorney counseled us to file separately. Never was there a mention of having to divorce.

How is your wife’s AL handling all her physical and medical limitations? I did not know that ALs were capable of dealing with this level of care without being referred to a nursing facility. My parents both were ineligible to go to AL, even if they had had the money. because neither of them were able to transfer from their wheel chair and needed equipment, and also because their ADLs (activities of daily living) were minimal.
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lstuscany, I understand exactly what you are talking about because there was a 45 year old man living in one of the nursing homes that I worked at. He had MS and was a quad like your wife. He and his wife got a divorce after 10+ years of marriage and 2 children under age 8, so that he could qualify for Medicaid. While it was hard on them, it made financial sense and the wife was able to take care of the 2 girls who were in junior high at the time that I worked at the facility.

Sometimes "Divorce for preservation of finances" is a necessary evil and I am sorry that you and your wife are looking at having to take that step. You need to do whatever is BEST for your WIFE and for YOU. ^^Prayers^^
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I think Medicaid takes your income together and splits it in half. Her half would need to be spent down to 2k (in the state of NJ). You will be able to keep the house and car. Upon her death, a lean will be placed on the house that will need to be satisfied when you sell the house but you don't have to sell. Medicaid is different in every state. You may want to talk to a Medicaid lawyer to see what your options are. You will not be left destitute.
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