Couple A's surviving spouse has a 3 year life expectancy but maybe lives 7 more years. Couple B may have a surviving spouse whose life expectancy is 12 years remaining but lives 8 more years. There are official life expectancies used by Social Security for it's planning. Maybe snf Medicaid needs to utilize these figures to make sense of what level assets a surviving spouse is forced to give up. If I have the maximum allowed for snf Medicaid of 120K for example, that's plenty if I only have 2 more years to live. How does this play out if I live 6 years or 14 years? Some other number of years? If you haven't done so already, you can look yourself up on Social Security. It will show what your life expectancy is. From there figure out how far the 120K will take you!