What is the Federal Spousal Impoverishment Law?
Federal law (Section 1924 of the Social Security Act) protects against the impoverishment of a married person resulting from his or her spouse entering a nursing home. Within certain limitations, it protects both the income and resources of a person whose spouse requires nursing home care.
Federal spousal impoverishment applies when one spouse is in a nursing home and the other spouse remains in the community.
The federal law requires the nursing home to advise all new admissions who are married and their families that resources assessments are available from the Department of Health and Welfare upon request. The best time to ask for a resources assessment is at the time the institutional spouse enters the nursing home.