Three New Jersey Medicaid Mistakes Worth Avoiding

What seems like a minor mistake in the application process can turn out to be a big issue down the road. Partnering with a New Jersey Medicaid planning attorney early on gives you the best possible opportunity to protect your interests. NJ-medicaid-qualification

Mistake #1: Assuming that Medicare Will Pay for Your Bills

Medicare does not cover the vast majority of long term care expenses, meaning that your personal savings can be decimated quickly or your spouse is forced to sell assets to pay for the necessary health care. Without the proper planning you could be exposed to risks.

Mistake #2: Thinking that It’s Too Late to Do Any Planning

It is always beneficial to do planning well in advance but you should still consult with an experienced Medicaid lawyer if a loved one has recently entered a facility or is on the cusp of doing so. There may still be legal planning opportunities available to you.

Mistake #3: Gifting Assets Too Early or Too Late

Don’t risk your financial security by transferring everything else to your children. This can also cause difficult health care, tax and Medicaid eligibility issues. Make sure that you have an awareness of the five year lookback and penalty period before obtaining public benefits eligibility. Proper planning can help you avoid the vast majority of these problems and put you in a good position to be able to leverage New Jersey Medicaid benefits as soon as possible.


Why You Need a New Jersey Medicaid Plan

Plenty of NJ residents do not anticipate needing Medicaid or understanding its required aspects until it is too late. As long term care costs have been on the rise and life expectancies have also increased, the challenge for many people is about how to pay for these services. It can cost upwards of $8000 a month to live in an assisted living facility or a nursing home or to pay someone for home based care.

Many people will not have enough money inside their retirement accounts to support them even for a few months, much less years. The New Jersey Medicaid program can help pay for your long term care needs but it is only eligible to those people who pass certain tests on the number of assets and amount of income that they have. Multiple services can be provided to you by an experienced New Jersey Medicaid planning lawyer, including:

  • Comprehensive analysis of your current eligibility for long term care benefits through Medicaid.
  • A detailed review of your financial and asset records as well as plans for what to do with these assets if you intend to apply for Medicaid in the future.
  • Updating your current estate planning documents, such as powers of attorney, trusts and wills.
  • Assisting you with implementing and asset protection plan until you become eligible for New Jersey Medicaid benefits.
  • Crafting a plan to protect the assets of the community or healthy spouse.

In all of these circumstances, having the insight of an experienced New Jersey estate planning lawyer can go a long way towards easing your fears about the cost of health care in older ages.  Contact our office today when you need a short term or long term plan to help you family prepare for the costs of health issues in older age.


Which Recipients Are Exempted from A Period of Medicaid Ineligibility Triggers?

Transferring assets is one of the most complicated aspects of planning ahead for Medicaid. In fact, it often requires a knowledgeable estate planning attorney who has been practicing in the field for many years to give you a better understanding of what is required with regard to Medicaid asset transfers. 

A well-meaning asset transfer could end up becoming a significant problem if it triggers a period of ineligibility during which the person who desperately needed that support and payment is no longer able to tap into Medicaid. Transferring assets to certain recipients will not trigger a period of Medicaid ineligibility, however.

The following people are considered exempt recipients.

  •   A disabled or blind child.
  •   A spouse or a transfer to another person as long as the transfer of those of assets was for the spouse’s benefit.
  •   A trust for whom the beneficiary is a disabled individual under age 65, who is the sole person to receive the benefits of the assets.
  •   A trust created for the benefit of a disabled or a blind child.

Furthermore, there are special exceptions that apply to the transfer of a person’s home. A Medicaid applicant may be eligible to transfer his or her home to other individuals without incurring a transfer penalty, but due to the fact that Medicaid rules can be especially complex, it is strongly recommended that you can consider a consultation with a knowledgeable estate planning and elder law lawyer who is familiar with the state-specific rules and can help advise you about the process.

The support of an estate planning attorney is instrumental in outlining your long-term goals and helping you to avoid mistakes that could be especially problematic for you or your loved ones into the future. A consultation with an estate planning attorney can be the first and one of the most important steps in the planning process.

What You Need to Know About Medicaid Planning

Long term care is extremely complicated and very expensive and simple errors in your planning or in the submission process can cost you in a big way. The motivations behind Medicaid planning are to be as organized as possible and to ensure that you get the support that you need when you need it most. Medicaid crisis planning can still be effective; however, it is far better to work many years in the future towards establishing a Medicaid plan that considers all of your unique needs and family dynamics.

Doctor’s hands with health care words isolated on white

The sooner that retain the services of an estate planning attorney who works in the area of elder law and helps numerous people with target Medicaid plans, the more confident you will feel about your own future. A Medicaid planning attorney will understand the complexity associated with resources, monthly income and financial eligibility limits. They will also advise you on how to use different tools such as trusts to ensure that your assets are protected. Every state has different Medicaid rules, which is why you should work with an attorney in your individual state.

Some of the most common reasons to engage in Medicaid planning sooner rather than later are to ensure that a family’s limited assets are protected and to have peace of mind that the next generation can afford an education or live in a home, to ensure that a healthy spouse staying in a home will still maintain financial resources and continue to do so if you need to leave the home and receive care in a facility, and because the process of applying and having your case reviewed is very time consuming.

A Medicaid planner who knows the ins and outs and also the common missteps and problems associated with this process will help to protect you and your loved ones for many years to come. You can never anticipate when you may experience a challenge that could leave you incapacitated or in need of long term care. So, make sure that you have an attorney at your side as soon as possible.


Do Estate Planning Now If Nursing Home Could Be in Your Future

Planning ahead can make things easier for you and your loved ones, even if you are not currently affected by a disability or a medical condition that could lead you into a nursing home. If you do comprehensive estate a minimum of five years before you would need to enter a nursing home, you can help to protect a large portion of your assets from having to be spent on long-term care. Seniors may wish to consider getting some of the assets out of their own name and into their kids’ names. An estate planning attorney and a financial advisor are both recommended, so that you avoid consequences associated with poor Medicaid planning.

Trust planning to help protect your assets can still enable you to have control over the distribution of these assets and know that you will likely be entitled to take advantage of Medicaid when it becomes available to you. Consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney is often the first step in identifying what you need to do to protect your loved ones. Although it might seem difficult to look into elder law planning many years before you might actually need it, it is often these unexpected surprises that can generate concerns for you and your loved ones. Avoid a guardianship proceeding and other challenges associated with long term care planning, by scheduling a consultation with an estate planning lawyer today.

Are You Making This Major Medicaid Planning Mistake?

Medicaid is one of the most important governmental service programs that comes into effect when a person no longer has the assets required to pay for long term care such as nursing home and other related services. How you plan for Medicaid, however, is extremely important because you could be blocking yourself from recovering these benefits when you need them the most. One of the biggest mistakes people make when approaching Medicaid planning is purchasing exempt assets prior to the date of admission. Payment Options for Long-term care

One of the most common protections with Medicaid planning is the community spouse resource allowance, also referred to as the CSRA. You must know what your state considers as assets that are exempt from being spent down to qualify for Medicaid. A couple’s residence, their household goods, one car, medical equipment, jewelry, furnishings, and a few other items are exempted. Other assets such as their CODs, savings bonds, mutual funds, checking and savings accounts and others are considered nonexempt, meaning they could be subject to the spend down requirements.

A Medicaid applicant spouse is eligible to keep one-half as an official CSRA up to a particular maximum. Planning ahead in advance with the help of an experienced Medicaid planning lawyer and elder law attorney can assist you with determining how CSRA is calculated and the things that you can do in order to stay in compliance with the law and get the necessary Medicaid benefits should you or your spouse need long term care services immediately. You may be subject to penalties and a delay of your Medicaid benefits if you do not follow these rules to the letter.




What You Need to Know About Medicaid And Estate Recovery in New Jersey

Knowing your rights as it relates to Medicaid can be extremely important if you intend to qualify for this government program. Federal Medicaid regulations mandate that a state obtain reimbursement from an individual’s estate for the cost of long term nursing facility services, as it relates to Medicaid. Medicaid recovery

The service may put a lien against a person’s personal or real property by a New Jersey Medicaid program as a way to secure reimbursement for services. In New Jersey, this Medicaid program carries out two types of Medicaid liens. The first is a pre-death lien placed on a person’s property prior to death.

An estate recovery or a post-death lien is filed after the death of the recipient. After an individual enters into the Medicaid program and is classified as permanently institutionalized, a lien is filed against a property to prevent assets from being transferred out avoid a Medicaid lien. This can have significant implications for your estate planning process and for that reason, should be discussed directly with a knowledgeable lawyer as soon as possible.

The Great Debate Over Medicaid

Many people hope that they will never be disabled or poor, however, the biggest myth that many people are countering today that they will be able to pay for themselves in their old age. A majority of people are actually not able to do this. One in three individuals who turn 65 will end up in a nursing home at some point over the course of their lives and research from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that 62% of them cannot pay the bill on their own. sparks fly in the Medicaid debate

When you run out of assets, Medicaid steps in to pay. The Medicaid program could have hundreds of billions of dollars less to spend, however, if the current Medicaid debate in Washington leads to significant cuts. The average annual cost of a nursing home for a semi-private room is $82,000, according to Genworth Financial. Most people cannot afford to pay that amount and certainly not for a long period of time, particularly if they have already spent a good portion of their retirement for the 10 or 20 years prior. If a spouse has already needed years of expensive care, then the other partner is even more vulnerable.

Talking to an experienced estate planning lawyer about your options for planning for Medicaid is extremely important. It is a responsibility to do your planning and it’s not unethical to look ahead towards how to qualify for Medicaid legally. Medicaid is a complicated program fraught with rules and regulations, which is why you need an estate planning or elder law attorney who knows the landscape and can help walk you through these issues up front.

What is the Medicaid Five Year Look Back?

When planning ahead for your future, a common question that emerges with older adults has to do with Medicaid. This is because the cost of long-term care can be significant and you may need to rely on outside sources like Medicaid in order to afford the services you’ll need if you encounter a long-term care event. Medicaid is available to those individuals who do not have other sufficient assets in order to cover the cost of care. Since the federal government is sensitive to situations in which individuals might try to take advantage of federal help, they employ a number of strategies in order to ensure that the person applying is eligible to receive benefits through the Medicaid program. One of these strategies is the five year look back. Medicaid planning

You might be tempted to begin unloading all your assets as you get older to remove them from your estate as well as to increase your chances of qualifying for Medicaid if you should need it. If this move looks questionable, however, or if you make the decision too quickly without consulting with your estate planning lawyer, Medicaid may penalize you. This is not a situation you want to find yourself in, so it’s important to plan well in advance. The other downside of sudden decisions about your estate is that these could have tax consequences for your loved ones if you’re not careful, so it’s always well worth advance Medicaid planning with the help of an estate planning attorney.

You are ineligible for Medicaid if you transferred assets before applying for your benefits. The government will analyze whether you gave away assets in the five years prior to your application for benefits to determine whether or not you purposefully engaged in this behavior to minimize assets so you would appear eligible for the benefits.

There are legal and valuable strategies you can employ for the purposes of advance Medicaid planning. These should always be discussed directly with your Medicaid planning attorney.


Benefits of Advanced Medicaid Planning

Having a loved one experience a health event that may prompt more intensive care presents a lot of unique challenges for all family members. It can be a confusing and frustrating time with limited decision-making options. Given the rules regarding the Medicaid look-back period, it can be difficult to maximize asset protection and get the most out of planning ahead for Medicaid. 

The reality is that for many families, the first time they consider Medicaid planning is during a time when it’s too late to make advanced planning strategies work. No one wants to think about health deterioration for a loved one or themselves, however, doing so can help to ensure that someone does not have to spend down their own assets in significantly prior to qualifying for Medicaid.

Meeting with an attorney years before considering Medicaid has a lot of benefits. It allows you to consider how you’ll handle your assets now and increases the chances that you’ll be able to pass on assets to loved ones while also having some peace of mind about your own health needs. If you’re nearing retirement age, now is a good time to have an initial consultation about advanced Medicaid planning. This is because you’ll have more options and be able to have greater flexibility with your choices.

Why Do I Need to Think About Medicaid Planning Now?

If you are relatively healthy now, you may think that you can skip out on the process of planning ahead for long-term care, but this is a mistake. What happens in the event that you sustain an injury or an illness requiring nursing home care and you don’t meet the asset or income test for Medicaid. For far too many individuals, the option is to pay for care out of pocket each month in the nursing home until they have spent down their assets enough in order to qualify for coverage.Medicaid advance planning NJ

Monthly nursing home bills, however, can be more than $3,500 a month, meaning that your entire life savings can be decimated extremely quickly. It also leaves your loved ones, including a spouse, with no financial cushion or protection. It would be extremely frustrating and likely ashamed to feel that a lifetime of hard work and disciplined savings has gone to the waste, leaving your family without any form of protection.

There is also no need to spend majority or all of your assets on nursing home care prior to qualifying for Medicaid coverage. There are safe harbor provisions that allow you plan ahead and protect your assets, but in order to do this, you must approach the planning process well in advance. This is one reason why you need to set up a consultation with an elder law planning attorney who has a focus on Medicaid.

Planning now helps to minimize the chances of problems well into the future. If you have already encountered a long-term care crisis currently, it may be too late to take action, but planning ahead helps to protect your loved ones and your assets. Are you ready to start the process now? Contact our offices to set up a meeting.


Do I Really Need an Elder Law Attorney to Help with Medicaid?

Going through the process of helping a loved one qualify for Medicaid can be extremely overwhelming if you have never encountered it before. Even experienced individuals may find themselves confused by all of the various aspects required to qualify for Medicaid. This is why it is strongly recommended that you consult directly with an experienced elder law attorney when going through this process for yourself or helping an elderly loved one.

One of the first things you need to do in order to qualify for Medicaid is to ensure that you meet the determination of needs score. This is what is used to determine whether or not an individual actually requires long term care in an official nursing home. This assessment can be determined by many different organizations. Additionally, the income eligibility requirement is critical for determining if your income exceeds the private cost of care. Qualifying for Medicaid can be extremely complex as there are numerous rules and regulations associated with this process.Medicaid elder law NJ

The income eligibility requirements and the resource eligibility requirements are some of the most confusing aspects of the process overall. In the event that you have tried to give away assets in order to qualify for Medicaid and you have given away these assets too soon in conjunction with your Medicaid application, the look-back period can be used to deny your eligibility for Medicaid. It can be a significant blow to discover that the government is refusing you Medicaid eligibility.

That is why it’s well worth your time to consult with an experienced individual who has a background as an elder law attorney. If any of this process seems confusing, that’s because it is. This is why you need an elder law attorney who has helped others determine their long-term Medicaid plans and other long-term care issues well in advance. You can help avoid confusions and frustration by working directly with an attorney. Ready to get started? Contact today if you have questions.

Should My Spouse Transfer All Of His Or Her Assets To Me To Qualify For Medicaid?

It is a bad idea to have a spouse make a major transfer of assets if he or she is going into a nursing home unless you have consulted with an experienced attorney. All non-exempt assets held by the wife or husband are held together and then divided between the two spouses for Medicaid eligibility purposes. shutterstock_357404000

The spouse going into the nursing home could be disqualified from receiving Medicaid until his or her portion of the assets is reduced significantly. It is important to consult with an elder law attorney if you have questions regarding Medicaid. The lookback rule allows Medicaid to deny your application if you transfer assets for less than what would be considered fair market value within five years before your application for Medicaid benefits.

Remember that if you do give away your assets it can be impossible to get them back by legal action. Do not assume that passing on your assets to your loved one allows you to get them back in the future if your loved ones do not want to cooperate with this. Consult with an elder law planning attorney to learn more about your options.

What is Medicaid Planning?

Medicaid planning involves a careful consideration of an individual’s assets to determine whether or not he or she legally qualifies to receive nursing home benefits for Medicaid. Many individuals who do not carefully consider this process or who do not have other significant resources to support them in their older years such as long-term care insurance, may have to use all of their personal assets and resources to support an individual who has suffered a healthcare event.shutterstock_322363940

It can also be very problematic for individuals who have no other resources because family members can feel the pressure of having to provide for a loved one who needs nursing home care. This is why it is a good idea to consult with a New Jersey Medicaid planning attorney. One of the most common questions considered in the Medicaid process is whether or not you should get rid of property.

Bearing in mind that Medicaid has a look back period to explore whether or not you have attempted to give away assets so that you may qualify for Medicaid, it’s a good idea to consider your Medicaid planning well in advance. This allows you to take advantage of legal strategies that can help prepare you to qualify for Medicaid appropriately.

Even if you are not yet concerned about your healthcare and your need for potential nursing home care, you should consult with a New Jersey Medicaid planning attorney now to learn about all of your options. Putting a plan in place well in advance is the best approach.



Materials You Should Have Before Applying for Medicaid

After discussing your Medicaid application and preparing for it in advance with your elder law attorney, there may be an appropriate time you should begin the application process. There are several things you should know about the Medicaid application process in order to set yourself up for success.


One of the things that surprises most elderly individuals and their caregivers is the amount of documentation required for a Medicaid application. The more prepared you are, the easier it will be to submit this information and in the proper order so that you do not have any unnecessary delays associated with the application. The following items should be included with your application.

  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage information
  • Social security award letter or social security card
  • Information about all loans owed
  • A copy of a residential rental agreement (if applicable)
  • Health insurance premiums and identity cards
  • All unpaid medical bills
  • Alimony statements or child support statements
  • Any cars owned
  • Pay stubs over the last six weeks
  • details of any pension plans where benefits are being received
  • Copies of tax return for the last five years
  • All life insurance statements and policies including any cash value accumulated within these policies

As you can see, the Medicaid application process can be quite extensive and may be a bit overwhelming. Planning in advance of options you have with your assets as well as qualifying for Medicaid can be an important first step to discuss with an elder law attorney.

Planning for Medicaid? Best to Include an Attorney

With an aging baby boomer population, concerns about paying for long-term care are front and center for many people right now. This has also led to a burst of programs marketed to individuals at or post-retirement, promising to help with the Medicaid qualification process. When engaging in this, you should consider setting up a meeting with an experienced elder law attorney to walk you through how this process works and what you can do to prepare legally.shutterstock_176062208

Medicaid planning is full of intricacies and strict government requirements, so someone with a background in helping others accomplish similar goals is prudent. As a potential Medicaid beneficiary, it’s also helpful for you to understand how this government program can support your needs for healthcare now and in the future.

Small mistakes can cost you in a big way, especially if you attempt to spend down assets without some insight from an elder law attorney. Since the federal program uses a look-back period to analyze how you might have disposed of any assets, an action you thought that might be helping you could actually delay the time period during which you become eligible for benefits. This is where an attorney’s counsel becomes so important: talk with your elder law attorney about what steps to take to better understand Medicaid and to legally qualify for it.

Top Myths About Long-Term Care Coverage Through Medicaid

Usually, it’s Medicare that gets the bulk of news coverage, but Medicaid is still quite confusing for many people. Here are some of the most common misconceptions about Medicaid. shutterstock_129373694

You Must Be Poor to Get It

Medicaid helps people qualify for long-term care, and it’s true that you cannot have more than a specific amount of assets to qualify, but there are some exempted assets. Consult with your elder law specialist to learn more.

Medicaid Is Unnecessary Since Medicare Will Cover My LTC
Medicare only covers up to 100 days of skilled nursing care, so it’s not permanent. Medicaid is more likely to help a patient over the lung run.

Transferring Your Money to Your Kids Will Help With Medicaid Qualification

While it’s true that you don’t want to have too many assets in the Medicaid qualification process, you don’t want to assume that all your assets should be transferred to children. The reason is because there is a penalty period if Medicaid believes that you transferred assets in the years prior just to qualify for coverage.

Make sure you’re clear about how Medicaid- as well as Medicare- works when it comes to your long-term care. Contact an elder law specialist to get more details about this process. Contact us at

Fast Facts on Nursing Homes and Medicaid

Last week on the blog we discussed how, when done properly, Medicaid planning is just a piece of the estate planning puzzle rather than an underhanded way to skirt government regulations. Unfortunately, there’s still quite a perception out there that Medicaid planning is somehow dubious and trying to capture as much of the government’s money as possible. shutterstock_64598182

The crackdown on Medicaid planning opportunities isn’t really new, since Congress tightened the penalties for giving away money to qualify back in 2007. The average cost of a nursing home in America is $75,000 per year, and it’s even higher in New Jersey and along states along the Northeast. That being said, just one year in a nursing home could obliterate a parent’s savings. That’s where Medicaid planning comes in.

There are strict rules about transferring assets and giving gifts in the years before qualifying for Medicaid. Consult with an attorney so that you are fully aware of the best strategies to employ and the proper timeline to follow so that your loved ones are not hit with any penalties. Medicaid is there to help, but you must be willing to follow the rules and institute planning early if you intend to get the most out of this system. Consult your elder law attorney for more details. When you need an elder law specialist, we’re here to help- reach out to us at

Is Medicaid Planning An Effort to Avoid Government Regulations?

For some reason, there’s a belief out there that Medicaid planning is against the law or in some way trying to circumvent the system. The reality is that this is not true at all. In fact, many attorneys and individuals invested in the Medicaid planning process have an expert level of knowledge about government regulations and the importance of working within these guidelines. Despite the fact that Medicaid planning can occasionally get a bad reputation as being unethical, the majority of people dedicated to this cause are committed to ethics and actually make the most out of planning within government guidelines. Law concept

Those who plan to qualify for Medicaid keep are looking ahead for the best way to do so, are simply following the rules of Medicaid just as those using tax deductions are complying with IRS regulations. At least that’s the perspective of ethics columnist Randy Cohen, who used to write for the New York Times.

The fact that long term care costs are increasing simply means that more people are interested in Medicaid planning and are seeking to understand their options more comprehensively. This doesn’t make planning unethical or illegal in any sense, in fact Medicaid planning represents an understanding of the importance of compliance. We’re waiting to help set your appointment: contact today.

Should I Just Give My Assets to My Kids To Qualify for Medicaid?

In the event that you or your spouse are facing a long-term care crisis and are concerned about spending down your assets quickly in order to qualify for Medicaid, it’s important to be aware of some of the potential pitfalls of acting too fast without carefully considering your options.

Individuals who are not familiar with the Medicaid qualification process might think that it’s a safe bet to pass on assets to children in order to reduce the volume of assets linked to the individuals attempting to qualify. Passing on these assets to children may be done with good intentions, but it can actually do more harm than good if you’re not careful. canstockphoto1739163

One of the disadvantages associated with transferring these assets is that doing so gives you no control over them in the future. Imagine a scenario where the child is sued and all of the assets are taken. Although this can be disheartening to think about, it’s also important to consider that giving away too many assets in an attempt to qualify for Medicaid can actually trigger a penalty. Medicaid looks back at gifts over the previous five years to determine if an individual has attempted to disperse assets in order to qualify for the government program. Since Medicaid is geared towards low-income individuals, if it is found that you transferred assets too aggressively in an attempt to qualify, a penalty may be calculated to determine the amount of nursing home care that could have been paid for with that gift. The applicant will be ineligible for Medicaid during a particular period if this is determined.

While Medicaid is a critical program for most individuals facing a long-term care crisis, you need to apply for it and prepare for it under the guidance of an experienced elder law professional. Don’t take any actions until you’ve consulted with an expert- email us at