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New Jersey seniors and 2020 rules for Medicaid eligibility

Medicaid is one of the many government programs that most people need help to navigate successfully. The rules change frequently and there are new requirements for 2020.

In New Jersey, residents 65 years of age and older may qualify for various Medicaid programs as long as the amount of their income and assets falls within the established guidelines.

Income requirements

According to 2020 guidelines, a person who is at least 65 years of age may qualify for nursing home or assisted living Medicaid as well as in-home care if his or her income is less than $2,349 per month. This pertains to income from any source: Social Security income, Social Security Disability income, employment wages, pension or alimony payments, stock dividends or IRA withdrawals.

Married couples’ income counts separately. For example, if a wife is applying for nursing home Medicaid, the income of the nonapplicant husband does not count in determining her eligibility. Furthermore, a portion  of the applicant’s income can go toward assisting the nonapplicant to remain at home.

Countable assets

For the purposes of Medicaid eligibility, countable assets include cash, checking accounts, stocks and bonds, investments and real estate other than the applicant’s residence. Exemptions include personal belongs, a vehicle, household furnishings, irrevocable burial trusts and the applicant’s residence as long as its value is less than $893,000, according to 2020 rules.

New Jersey resident who is 65 or older

In New Jersey, there are three opportunities for Medicaid eligibility:

  •        Institutional/Nursing Home Medicaid, available to anyone who qualifies
  •        Medicaid Waivers/Home and Community Based Services, or HCBS, providing at-home care, day care or assisted living for a limited number of applicants
  •        Regular Medicaid/Aged, Blind and Disabled, an entitlement for those who qualify for at-home or adult day care

Look-back rules

Understanding current Medicaid regulations in New Jersey also means understanding the 5-year look-back period. Medicaid checks to make sure an applicant has not given away or sold assets under fair market value within the five years prior to applying. It is another example of the requirements Medicaid imposes that may affect the ability of a New Jersey senior to qualify.

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