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From our friend Steven Ratner, Elder Law Attorney:
Many people have the misconception that in order to receive Medi-Cal benefits, one must be close to the state poverty limit. This, in fact, is far from the truth. Generally, a married couple can own up to $111,560, a home, a vehicle, and retirement accounts, and still be eligible for Medi-Cal. Moreover, if their combined income is below $2,739 per month, they can own more than $111,560 and still receive Medi-Cal benefits.
For example, if a husband and wife receive $2,500.00 as their combined monthly income, with current interest rates at .5%, they can have $573,600 in the bank and still be eligible for Long Term Care Medi-Cal. Likewise, if the husband and wife receive $2,000.00 of combined monthly income, with current interest rates of return at .5%, they can have up to $1.8 million in the bank.
Of course these numbers are dependent on interest rates at the time of application. Therefore, if interest rates increase, then the couple can have less in the bank. Even with an interest rate of 2%, however, a couple receiving $2,000.00 per month in combined income can still have $443,400 in the bank and receive Medi-Cal.
Accordingly, those who end up spending through their life savings paying for nursing home costs, thinking they are not eligible for Medi-Cal, may just be misinformed.