IRS regs that I've seen show that "nursing home" expenses are medical expenses that can flow to the medical deduction part of one's schedule A. It's hard to tell what the line is between general 'assisted living' for the elderly, vs enough required assistance to qualify as a medical expense.

I handle my MIL's (My mother in law. And while the jokes are fine, I get along with her and want the best for her) finances. Until now, tracking medical expenses made no sense as they'd need to exceed 7.5% of her income by enough to then exceed the standard deduction. But. Now she is on her way from a simple assisted living to a 'memory care' facility that will cost nearly $50,000/yr more than her current residence.

If this is deductible in full or any part of it, it would at least save her the few thousand each year on her taxes.


1 Answer 1


The relevant section from IRS Pub 502 seems to be Long-Term Care:

Long-Term Care

You can include in medical expenses amounts paid for qualified long-term care services and premiums paid for qualified long-term care insurance contracts.

Qualified Long-Term Care Services

Qualified long-term care services are necessary diagnostic, preventive, therapeutic, curing, treating, mitigating, rehabilitative services, and maintenance and personal care services (defined later) that are:

  1. Required by a chronically ill individual, and

  2. Provided pursuant to a plan of care prescribed by a licensed health care practitioner.

Chronically ill individual. An individual is chronically ill if, within the previous 12 months, a licensed health care practitioner has certified that the individual meets either of the following descriptions.

  1. He or she is unable to perform at least two activities of daily living without substantial assistance from another individual for at least 90 days, due to a loss of functional capacity. Activities of daily living are eating, toileting, transferring, bathing, dressing, and continence.

  2. He or she requires substantial supervision to be protected from threats to health and safety due to severe cognitive impairment.

Maintenance and personal care services. Maintenance or personal care services is care which has as its primary purpose the providing of a chronically ill individual with needed assistance with his or her disabilities (including protection from threats to health and safety due to severe cognitive impairment).

  • Yup that's it. Just saved my MIL her tax bill each year, thanks Ben. Commented Jun 10, 2016 at 20:21

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