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She is in Illinois: All income except $30 per month must be paid toward the nursing home costs. The normal income exemptions do not apply. However, expenses incurred for medical care not covered by Medicaid can be deducted from income.
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If her pension is over the Medicaid limit in your state, you need to look into establishing a Miller Trust or Pooled Income Trust. You will need an Eldercare attorney to set this up.
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If she is going into a nursing home, chances are her SS and pension won't be nearly enough to cover a $12,000 per month bill. So she pays all of her income, spends down her savings to $2000 or less, then Medicaid kicks in.
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