Sen. Kelly Applauds Senate Passage of Bill to Help Spouses of Nursing Home Residents

June 7, 2021

Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford) applauded the State Senate’s passage of a bill that is the first step in reversing years of harmful policy that hampered community spouses’ ability to age in place while their partner is in a nursing home facility.


Senate Bill 818 initiates a study of permitting the community spouse of an institutionalized Medicaid recipient to maintain the maximum amount of allowable assets. Under Republican Governor Rell community spouses were allowed to keep the maximum amount, which currently is $130,000. Governor Malloy cut that amount in half making it more difficult for community spouses, cutting the savings accounts of thousands of elderly couples, and making it more likely that community spouses will end up in nursing homes.


“Every year for the last decade I proposed legislation that would fix Governor Malloy’s poor policy decision and reinstate the federal maximum community spouse protected amount,” said Senator Kelly. “I applaud the Senate, including the leadership of Senator Miller, in passing this bill. My one concern is that this does not go far enough. Nevertheless, I am pleased to see this important step forward. I hope the Department of Social Services will stay focused on this issue and do whatever they can to enable spouses to stay in their communities, because that is where they want to age in place with dignity.”


The Community Spouses’ Protected Amount is a special safeguard that promotes independent living and aging in place. Federal Medicaid law protects the spouse of someone living in a nursing home facility from becoming impoverished while paying for their partner’s care. The law allows the spouse living in the community to keep some of the couple’s assets to maintain a household, make sure he or she does not become impoverished and end up in an institutionalized care facility.


“Allowing community spouses to maintain the maximum amount of allowable assets is smart policy. In addition to helping seniors age in place, it also will result in long term savings to the state by helping seniors avoid expensive institutionalized care for as long as possible. I hope this study considers these benefits very closely,” said Kelly.


The bill now moves to the House of Representatives.