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Miller Trusts Lift NJ Medicaid Income Cap for Assisted Living & Home Health Aides

Posted on: October 6th, 2014 by Lawrence A. Friedman

For many years New Jersey’s medical assistance program (“Medicaid”) could help seniors and disabled people with modest incomes fund long term care in nursing home, assisted living facility, or residence with home health aides. However, New Jersey’s Medicaid income cap ($2,163 per month in 2014) limited seniors and disabled people with incomes above the Medicaid income cap to long term care Medicaid in nursing homes. This meant seniors and disabled people exceeding New Jersey’s Medicaid income cap couldn’t get long term care Medicaid for assisted living or home health aides. Fortunately, for New Jersey seniors and disabled people who can receive long term care outside a nursing home, “the times they are a changing.” (apologies to Boy Dylan).

Beginning Nov. 1, 2014, New Jersey seniors and disabled people can use Miller Trusts to bypass the Medicaid income cap and obtain long term care Medicaid in nursing home, assisted living facilities, or residence with home health aides. Originating in the case Miller v. Ibarra, 746 F. Supp. 19 (D. Colo. 1990) Miller Trusts are now memorialized in federal law 42 U.S.C. 1396p(d)(4)(B) in states without Medically Needy Medicaid long term care programs.

Until this fall, Medically Needy Medicaid funded long term care in New Jersey, but only in nursing homes. Even though New Jersey limited long term care Medically Needy Medicaid to nursing homes, New Jersey seniors couldn’t use Miller Trusts for Medicaid in assisted living or with home health aides. Thus, Medicaid couldn’t pay for fund long term care outside a nursing home even if a person with income above the Medicaid income cap could live in a less restrictive environment. However, New Jersey has modified its Medicaid program to eliminate the bar to Miller trusts. Now New Jersey seniors and disabled people with incomes beyond the Medicaid income cap can use Miller Trusts to qualify for Medicaid funded long term care care at home with aides or in an assisted living facility.

This is good news for seniors, people with disabilities and other folks who may need long term care. Miller Trusts give FriedmanLaw a powerful new tool to help our clients receive care in the most appropriate setting– whether nursing home, assisted living, or at home with aides.
For more information on Medicaid and long term care, please see our Practice Areas and Q&A pages, or call us at (908) 704-1900.

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