The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) praises House passage of H.R. 3253, the Empowering Beneficiaries, Ensuring Access, and Strengthening Accountability Act of 2019, introduced by Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Brett Guthrie (R-KY), Fred Upton (R-MI), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Greg Walden (R-OR), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Peter Welch (D-VT), Kurt Schrader (D-OR), Michael Burgess (R-TX), and Tim Walberg (R-MI).

The legislation extends, through March 2024, funds for the Medicaid Money Follows the Person Demonstration Project (MFP) and the guarantee that Medicaid’s spousal impoverishment protections will apply to home and community-based service (HCBS) waivers.

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.

Additionally, 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.

“Keeping families together at home in the face of a chronic illness sadly remains difficult in many cases. Unfortunately, too many individuals wind up in an institution against their wishes. That’s why we are extremely thankful for this bipartisan bill to extend Money Follows the Person, which covers transition services out of a nursing home, and the guarantee that Medicaid’s spousal impoverishment protections applies to home and community-based services,” said NAELA President Jennifer VanderVeen, CELA, CAP, NAELA 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, or to locate a NAELA member in your area, please visit

Author: Abby M. Reitz – National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys