West Essex Tribune
March 2, 2006
New, harsher rules apply when you try and qualify for Medicaid. Medicaid is a poverty program so you can only have very limited assets and income to qualify. Some of the new rules are:
- Previously people gave away assets in order to meet the Medicaid requirements. Medicaid now looks back at 5 years of records (instead of 3 years) from when you apply to see what gifts you made. Any gifts mean you are ineligible for Medicaid for a period of time.
- The time period of ineligibility now begins when you are out of money, instead of beginning when you made the gift. All gifts count, such as helping grandchildren with tuition or buying a computer, even if not made with any intention of qualifying for Medicaid.
- Only $500,000 to $750,000 of home equity is not counted toward assets if one spouse is in a nursing home. New Jersey has to enact regulations setting the limit within that range.
There have been other changes. The need for help from a qualified attorney is more important than ever since planning has become more difficult but is still possible.