For Immediate Release
April 3, 2019
Contact: Abby M. Reitz, Communications Manager
NAELA Celebrates Extension of Protections for Spouses of Individuals with Disabilities
Extension on Guarantee That Medicaid’s Spousal Impoverishment Protections Applies to Home and Community-Based Service (HCBS) Waivers
Washington, DC — The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) celebrates congressional passage of an extension of the guarantee that Medicaid’s spousal impoverishment protections applies to home and community-based service (HCBS) waivers until September 30, 2019. The legislation, H.R. 1893, the Medicaid Services Investment and Accountability Act of 2019, also contained an additional $20 million for the Money Follows the Person (MFP) demonstration project.
Medicaid provides the primary coverage for long-term services and supports (LTSS). Unfortunately, its strict means testing and bias toward restrictive institutional settings puts a severe strain on families. Providing spousal impoverishment protections in HCBS settings better ensures that families can stay together while reducing the risk that the spouse will end up poor due to his or her significant other’s disability.
In addition, MFP allows individuals with disabilities of all ages to voluntarily transition from a nursing home back into the community. Since the program’s creation, more than 88,000 individuals have been able to move out of a nursing home to a less restrictive setting.
“We are extremely grateful for Congress coming together on a bipartisan basis to support these important policies. Too many individuals with disabilities and frail seniors risk placement in an institution despite their wishes to stay at home with their families. This legislation helps ensure that won’t be the case,” said NAELA President Michael J. Amoruso, Esq., CAP, Fellow.
Members of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) are attorneys who are experienced and trained in working with the legal problems of aging Americans and individuals of all ages with disabilities. Upon joining, NAELA member attorneys agree to adhere to the NAELA Aspirational Standards. Established in 1987, NAELA is a non-profit association that assists lawyers, bar organizations, and others. The mission of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys is to educate, inspire, serve, and provide community to attorneys with practices in elder and special needs law. NAELA currently has members across the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit NAELA.org, or to locate a NAELA member attorney in your area, visit NAELA.org/findlawyer.
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