is it like for families with elders to spend down
to Medical Assistance?
S. Stum, Ph.D. Family Social Science
is one thing to understand the technical descriptions
of Medical Assistance eligibility criteria, but
what is it really like emotionally and financially
for elders and their family members? Many elders
and their family members are facing poverty for
the first time in their lives. For them, the experience
of spending down to Medical Assistance can be
new and overwhelming. If you are likely to spend
down to Medical Assistance or work with families
who will, keep reading!
Assistance (also called Medicaid or MA) is
a state and federal government program that offers
a safety net and provides long-term care benefits.
Medicaid eligibility requires an individual to
meet poverty-level means-tested criteria for both
income and assets. If an elder is married, their
spouse is allowed to keep selected types and amounts
of income and assets to help protect the other
spouse's future financial security.
down is depleting private or family finances
to the point where an individual is sufficiently
poor to meet the eligibility criteria for Medicaid.
The spend down process and transition to poverty
can involve multiple losses, including loss of
control, choice, and dignity for elders and their