Expanded Eligibitly for New Jersey Home & Community Based Medicaid
As we have previously advised, the State of New Jersey has announced that it intends to expand the income eligibility requirements for seniors and those with disabilities living in a community setting.
The State of New Jersey recently announced that effective December 1, 2014, seniors and those with disabilities will now be able to use a “Miller Trust” to be eligible for home and community based Medicaid benefits. Previously, individuals were ineligible for Medicaid benefits in a home and community setting if monthly fixed income exceeded $2,163.
On or after December 1, 2014, a Qualified Income Trust (QITs), sometimes referred to as a “Miller Trust”, can be used to deposit excess income above $2,163 per month into the trust. QITs must meet certain conditions such as:
- They must contain only income of the individual;
- They must not contain resources such as income from the sale of real or personal property or money from a savings account;
- They must be irrevocable;
- They must have a trustee to manage administration of the Trust and expenditures from the Trust as set forth in federal and state law;
- New Jersey must be the first beneficiary of all remaining funds up to the amount paid for Medicaid benefits upon the death of the Medicaid recipient; and,
- Income deposited in the QIT can only be used for the specific Post-eligibility Treatment of Income and to pay for the cost of care.
On its face, the availability of QITs would seem like it is great news for New Jerseys’ seniors and those with disabilities. However, due to New Jersey’s restrictive limitations on the use of trust income, QITs seem to have greater utility in an assisted living setting than a home setting. For example, a Medicaid applicant living at home cannot use the income above $2,163.00 per month deposited into the trust for personal expenses such as food, mortgage, real estate taxes, etc.
The State of New Jersey has published a website with more information on QITs, including a proposed trust template and frequently answered questions. The website can be found athttp://www.state.nj.us/humanservices/dmahs/clients/mtrusts.html. Please note there is no requirement that a Medicaid applicant utilize the trust template.
The State of New Jersey allowing the use of QITs for individuals in a home and community setting is a great start. However, further advocacy is still needed to maximize the use of QITs, particularly in a home setting.
Rothkoff Law Group will be sponsoring a series of seminars on QITs for long term care professionals scheduled for early 2015. Our January Newsletter will feature our schedule.