Today, New Jersey Medicaid issued a MedComm (Medicaid Communication) saying that applicants with incomes under the federal poverty level (currently $983 / month) can use an affidavit in lieu of the lookback review.
When applying for long term care Medicaid benefits, the Medicaid agency usually requires you to submit five years’ worth of statements for all financial accounts. A Medicaid worker reviews these statements to determine whether you’ve made any gifts in the past five years. Gifts incur a penalty, a period of time during which you lose Medicaid benefits.
This review of financial records is very burdensome for all involved. It’s onerous for applicants, who must gather five years of records and explain their entire financial life to a stranger. And it’s arduous for the Medicaid worker, who has to review all the statements and verify each significant deposit and withdrawal.
According to the new MedComm, applicants with income under the federal poverty level who haven’t made any gifts in the past sixty months will now be able to submit an affidavit attesting so. In doing that, the applicant will avoid having to submit financial records for the past sixty months. This will make the Medicaid application process worlds easier for applicants with modest income who haven’t made gifts. This is especially true where a third party is trying to assemble the records, for example, a child-caretaker trying to piece together their parent’s financial records.
The affidavit can only be completed by the individual, or his or her spouse, guardian or agent under a power of attorney. So for a widow who lacks capacity to sign the affidavit herself and never created a power of attorney, her children (or others) would have to apply for guardianship in order to use the affidavit. This drives home the need to have a well-drafted power of attorney, especially if you may need long term care.
We have yet to see how this shakes out, but if things go as stated in this MedComm, then we at FriedmanLaw are excited to be able to offer some of our clients a simpler way to apply for Medicaid.
For specific information on Medicaid or long term care, please call or email us today.