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New NJ Medicaid Rules for Elder Care

Elder Law attorney Cedar Knolls, New Jersey

Effective December 1, 2014, an amendment to the New Jersey Medicaid program will create elder care opportunities for individuals who are caught in a sort of limbo.  These individuals earn more than the maximum permitted under Medicaid income eligibility requirements, but less than what they require to fund their elder care needs.  Such individuals will now be able to qualify for Medicaid assistance through the following arrangement:

– An individual who earns more than the allowed Medicaid monthly limit of $2163 as of December 2014, but who can’t afford the total cost of his/her elder care (and who is otherwise fully Medicaid eligible), may now qualify for Medicaid assistance by establishing a Qualified Income Trust (QIT).  QITs are Trusts tied to a special bank account.

– Deposits into the QIT (also known as a Miller Trust) must come from the individual’s personal monthly income (such as pension and Social Security checks), and must be deposited in the month when they are received.

– QIT funds may be used for qualified living expenses and care services.  As these funds are depleted, Medicaid will pick up the remaining monthly expenses, whether in a nursing home, an assisted living facility, or the individual’s home.

– The QIT terminates upon the individual’s death.  At that point, existing QIT funds will first be used to reimburse Medicaid for all elder care expenses incurred during the individual’s lifetime.  Only after this has occurred will any remaining QIT funds be available to beneficiaries.

As noted above, this new Medicaid elder care provision opens up opportunities for individuals who might otherwise be lost in the cracks.  And, in keeping with the ever-increasing number of elderly who prefer to remain at home as long as possible, it makes in-home care a viable option.  Given the various rules and restrictions associated with the new program, it is highly advisable that interested individuals seek guidance from knowledgeable sources such as attorneys, financial advisors, and the Social Security administration.

Getting Legal Help

Experienced Estate Planning and Elder Care Attorney, Elga A. Goodman, can help you understand the new Medicaid QIT provisions and assist you in qualifying for this program.  Contact us today at 973-841-5111.

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