Florida has just announced an increase in the Personal Needs Allowance for individuals receiving Medicaid benefits for custodial nursing home care. The new figure is $160 per month, up from $130. The updated figure went into effect on July 1, 2023.
What is the Personal Needs Allowance?
Generally speaking, the income of a person receiving Florida Medicaid nursing home benefits must go entirely to the nursing home. There are only three reasons some of that income may be diverted:
- The Personal Needs Allowance
- Payments to Medicare and other health insurance
- If the resident is married, a portion of the resident’s income may be diverted in order to elevate his/her well spouse’s income to the Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance, or MMMNA. Note: The MMMNA amount is also increasing in July. We will report the new figure to you as soon as the state makes it official.
What Can You Pay For With The Personal Needs Allowance?
The Personal Needs Allowance can only be used to pay for personal items for a resident, and they must be items that Medicaid does not cover. Examples of these items are:
- Cell phone bills
- Vitamins and mineral supplements
- Books and magazines
- Haircuts and hairstyling
- Manicures and other salon services
- Toiletries beyond the basics covered by Medicaid (the nursing home must provide toothpaste, shampoo, etc.)
- Craft items. For example, knitting needles and yarn
- Stationery, writing implements, postage
Personal Needs Allowance expenditures must be documented. The resident, if capable, can keep a log of purchases and expenses. Alternatively, the nursing home or the resident’s agent under his/her durable power of attorney or guardian can keep a record of paid expenses.
Can Unused PNA Funds Be Rolled Over?
If the resident does not spend all of his/her $160 in a given month, the unused funds can be added to the Personal Needs Allowance for the following month. However, you must monitor accumulated Personal Needs Allowance funds. If the accumulated funds push the resident’s assets over $2,000, he/she will be deemed ineligible for Medicaid benefits.