Expanded State Funding Is Now Available To Pay For Assisted Living And In-Home Care Costs

Until December of 2014, New Jersey residents who earned income in excess of $2163 per month could only obtain Medicaid assistance to pay for nursing home level care. Under New Jersey’s “Medically Needy” program, they could not obtain coverage for care in an assisted living facility or for in-home care.

Not only did this leave many people who wanted a greater degree of independence with a “Hobson’s choice” between foregoing Medicaid assistance altogether or seeking nursing home placement, it also cost the State treasury dearly due to the higher cost of nursing home level care.

Fortunately, New Jersey Medicaid announced last year that it was actively seeking solutions to correct this problem, and as of December of 2014 the way has finally been cleared for the use of Qualified Income Trusts (“QITs”), commonly referred to as “Miller Trusts.”

As used in other States, a Miller Trust channels income above the Medicaid limit ($2199 per month in 2015) into an Irrevocable Trust. During the applicant’s lifetime, trust funds are used for long term care costs and Medicaid covers the balance. After the applicant’s death, the excess in the Trust, if any, is used first to reimburse Medicaid.

Anyone unfamiliar with Miller Trusts should seek the assistance of a seasoned practitioner, as there are a variety of rules that must be followed. For example, income checks must be deposited in their entirety as no partial check deposits are allowed. Similarly, only income can be placed in the Trust, not economic resources or other assets. Miller Trust is somewhat tricky. With professional assistance, however, these trusts can be quickly established and easily administered.

This is extremely good news for anyone who needs long term care assistance, but whose social security, pension and/or other fixed income exceeds $2199 per month. It is especially good news for those relatively healthy individuals who want, and are capable of receiving, care in their own homes or in an assisted living environment.

If you or any group, club or organization with whom you are affiliated would like to know more about this new opportunity, please feel free to contact us for a free consultation.

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