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NJ Medicaid Can Now Cover In-Home Senior Care

We have some great news for families who use or want to use a Westfield home care provider. After years of lobbying for change, a new amendment to the Medicaid program will allow more seniors to have long-term care expenses covered by Medicaid, and, more seniors will be eligible for Medicaid.

New Option for Qualifying

A senior applying must have five years of financial records to prove money was not given away to adult children to avoid spending inheritance on long-term care. With the new legislation, an appointed trustee will keep track of a senior’s monthly financial transactions. The trustee will ensure that all pension funds are deposited and living expenses paid, with the rest of a senior’s money going toward long-term care or returning to Medicaid.

The new law benefits those who would have been denied Medicaid in the past by exceeding the qualifying income. A senior whose income is greater than the Medicaid limit will now be eligible to apply by diverting income into a separate trust account.

The Magic Number and the Miller Trust

Any income received in excess of the $2,163 per month Medicaid eligibility limit will be deposited into a Miller Trust account, also known as a Qualified Income Trust, after qualified living expenses have been paid. This money can then be used to pay monthly home care costs. Miller Trust money is exempt from Medicaid jurisdiction. This means that Medicaid cannot count this money in determining eligibility. So elderly will no longer be excluded from applying for Medicaid if monthly income exceeds $2,163.

Miller Trust Requirements

There are certain criteria that must be met to maintain a Miller Trust:

  1. The Trust must be created prior to applying for Medicaid.
  2. The State of New Jersey must be named as the account beneficiary. This means that upon the death of a Medicaid recipient, any remaining money will go to the state.
  3. The account can only contain an individual’s income. Funds from the sale of real or personal property cannot be included. Money from a savings account cannot be included. Examples of qualified income are social security benefits and pensions.
  4. The account must be managed by a trustee.
  5. Trust funds can only be used to pay for the cost of long-term care in the home, nursing facility, or assisted living residence.

The Trustee’s Role

The trustee for a QIT has three responsibilities that must be performed monthly. The trustee must make sure that:

  1. All pension checks are deposited into the account.
  2. Qualified living expenses are paid first from the account.
  3. Any remaining funds are used to pay for home care or returned to Medicaid.

For more information on how this legislation change could potentially benefit your senior loved one, call Home Care Assistance of Warren. Our experienced Care Managers can answer questions and discuss Westfield live-in care options for your senior loved one that may be more affordable under the new rules. Our live-in caregivers can assist with transportation, meal preparation and cooking, bathing and incontinence, and provide a safe and secure environment for your senior loved one. Call us today at (908) 450-9400 to schedule your free in-home consultation.