There’s no “income cap” anymore for Medicaid long term benefits

When I first started filing Medicaid applications for my clients back in 1995, a person who needed long-term care services in the home or assisted living but had run out of money could not even apply for Medicaid if their gross monthly income was higher than the “income cap.” Of course, the income cap was well below the amount that was needed to pay for care, which meant that a lot of people couldn’t receive necessary services. Basically it meant that many people who would have done well in a community environment with a home health aide and other support ended up moving into a nursing home, because that was the only setting where Medicaid would pay for them. Or they had to do without care or cobble together a plan in which family members took care of them.

Finally, in 2014 when the State’s Comprehensive Medicaid Waiver went into effect, the income cap was eliminated as a bar to receipt of community & assisted living services. There is a special procedure that the applicant has to use, because the income has to be funneled through a structure called a Qualified Income Trust (QIT), but at least the person can now apply for Medicaid benefits. You can read more about QIT’s in our earlier blogs.

We continue to meet people who haven’t heard this good news. If your family is struggling with how to arrange and pay for long term care, call us for legal advice regarding Medicaid eligibility that fits your specific situation.

For personalized advice about a Medicaid plan call … 732-382-6070

Statewide Transition Plan for Disabled Finally Threading the Needle?

Stakeholders in New Jersey made their feelings known in a big way to State DDD officials on a new transition plan that New Jersey had to give to the federal government showing the State’s increased efforts to develop residential placements that integrate people with developmental disabilities and other enrollees in the community. It looks like the revised plan has satisfied the stakeholders.

The new transition plan gives more opportunities to new residential service providers to explain how their  congregate settings will integrate residents into the community while also balancing issues of safety and service provision.  Previous rules limited the number of  disabled individuals who could reside together in one place This seems like a common-sense approach to complex issues of balancing the needs of the disabled person with the values of community integration.

One area that we will continue to monitor is the rights of residents in assisted living facilities.  The transition plan addendum states, “The DOH will take whatever steps are necessary, including potentially revising NJAC 8:36, to ensure that an agreement between an AL facility and each resident is in place and that the document provides protections that address eviction processes and appeals comparable to those provided under New Jersey’s landlord tenant law.”  Having systemic landlord/tenant protections for residents of assisted living facilities (ALFs) is vital because ALFs fall in between the legal areas of landlord-tenant law and nursing home law, leaving  ALF residents unsure of how the law protects them against wanton eviction.

Call us for advice regarding legal planning to protect the rights of persons with disabilities …… 732-382-6070


Yeah But Can We Preserve the Millennium Falcon for Chewbacca’s Benefit?

Elder Law has really broken out into mainstream popular culture this year!  There was the first season of Better Call Saul, where the attorney who would be Saul Goodman on Breaking Bad gets into elder law and sues an assisted living facility in New Mexico.  And now, on the heels of the new Star Wars Trilogy coming out, we have a galactic elder law fact pattern with a script spec called Old Solo.  Apparently, Han’s golden years are not so golden, and he needs long-term care and has fallen out with his long-time caregiver, Chewbacca.  Old Solo has issues of caregiver burnout, health care decision-making, ex-spouses, and what setting is the least restrictive (being at home in Corellia with Leia and her new husband Wedge or in a Cloud City assisted living facility–tough call!).  And most importantly, will Han have to sell the Millennium Falcon to pay for his long-term care– and what does the Republic think is fair market value for it?

It may be funny to consider what old age is like in a galaxy far, far, away, but if you are having your own real life elder law issues, contact us!


What Can Your Elder Law Attorney Do for You?

If your family is struggling with the difficult decisions regarding nursing home placement or ongoing disability, Medicaid eligibility, or a need for in-home care, the elder law attorneys at FRE-L can assist you with many of the steps in that process. You may be wondering whether to engage an elder law attorney or to work with an application processer recommended by a nursing home. First and foremost, your elder care attorney works just for you, and applies and interprets the many intertwining laws and regulations to achieve your goals, without conflicting interests. Your particular case will likely involve an array of legal issues that may not be readily apparent. Here is a sampling of how we can help:

— Review & negotiate admissions contracts for Continuing Care Retirement Communities, Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities

— Review & negotiate employment contracts for home care agencies

— Prepare employment contracts for household caregivers

— Help to find an appropriate facility, especially for unusually troublesome situations

— Advocate for you with the facility business office and admissions director to assist in the admissions process

— Accompany you to the family Care Planning meetings which are required to be held by state licensing laws, to advocate for the resident’s needs

– Advise you on lawful means to preserve family assets and become eligible for government benefits such as Medicaid

— Assemble, prepare and file the Medicaid application and provide necessary legal analysis for caseworkers.

— File or defend court proceedings for guardianship (in cases of incapacity), or to create or correct a trust, or to obtain protective orders when there are family disputes about the care of elders.

— Evaluate your existing estate plan if any, and prepare an appropriate legal plan with a Will, Power of Attorney, Trust, Deed or Health Care Directive to preserve and protect your home, your independence, your family and your assets.

— identify available benefit programs such as Social Security Disability and advise you on evidence needed for the application.

— Prepare Special Needs Trusts or Supplemental Benefits Trusts for benefit of adult family members, to preserve assets and eligibility

We are here to make these stressful processes easier, so that you can take care of the other needs of yourself, your family or your job. We provide “full service” for our elder care clients, and we are committed to providing individualized solutions to complex problems, responding promptly to the needs of clients,  keeping clients informed, keeping up to date with developments in the law, and developing relationships with clients based on mutual trust, undivided loyalty, and respect

How may we help you? For an appointment call 732-382-6070