I am happy to report some good news for New Jersey seniors in need of home care covered by Medicaid. On June 3, 2014, in the case of Galletta vs. Velez, a New Jersey Federal district judge granted summary judgment in favor of a Medicaid applicant. The judge ruled that both the pension portion as well as the aid & attendance portion of the VA pension benefit were not includable as “countable income” in determining eligibility for Global Options Medicaid benefits. The court said the State’s focus on characterizing the VA benefit as either “aid & attendance” or “pension” is misguided. Instead, the State should focus on the basis for the award, i.e., if the award was the result of unreimbursed medical expenses, the benefit is not countable no matter how it is characterized.
Previously, New Jersey has taken the position that if the VA pension combined with the individuals other income (Social Security, other pension) was over the monthly Medicaid income cap (currently $2,162 per month), the individual was not eligible for community Medicaid programs. These programs under Global Options cover home care, adult medical day care, and assisted living.
I congratulate my colleague, elder law attorney Donald Vanarelli, for his successful advocacy addressing this important issue.
You can read more about the decision and read the court’s opinion by clicking on the below link.