The cost of inpatient hospital care which requires an overnight stay, including the cost of meals and lodging, is deductible as an itemized deduction. The extent to which expenses for care in an institution other than a hospital(nursing home, home for the aged, ect.) qualify as a deduction for medical care depends on the situation, condition of the individual and the nature of the services received.
If the availability of medical care in an institution is the principal reason for the patient’s presence there, the entire cost of the care, including meals and lodging furnished in conjunction with the care, is deductible. However, if an individual is placed in the institution primarily for personal or family reasons, then only that portion of the cost attributable to medical or nursing care is deductible. An example of this situation would include:
“Stephanie is elderly, totally disabled, and suffers from a chronic back problem. Her family placed her in a nursing home equipped to provide medical and nursing services for her. The nursing home expenses are $20,000 per year. Of this amount, $5,000 is directly attributable to medical and nursing care. Since Stephanie is in need of intensive medical and nursing care and has been placed in the nursing home facility for this purpose, all $20,000 is deductible. If Stephanie has been placed in the nursing home primarily for personal or family considerations, only $5,000 would be deductible.”
Although education ordinarily does not qualify as medical care, special schooling for a mentally or physically handicapped individual is deductible, if the resources of the institution for alleviating the individual’s mental or physical handicap are the principal reason for the individuals presence at the school. In this type of situation, the cost of attending the school including the cost of meals and lodging is deductible.