By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold, NJ Special Needs Trust & N.J. Medicaid Attorney
I met recently with a family where the mother will apply for Medicaid soon. She is 81 years old and is having difficulty getting around, and will need a nursing home level of care. She wants to transfer $180,000 in stock, which is her only asset, her son but the question is whether she will still qualify for benefits if she does this? The son is 54, disabled and lives in a group home.
While I generally request more information to prove disability and offer a precise opinion, here is some general information that should be helpful.
For Medicaid purposes, neither New Jersey nor the federal government can penalize an applicant who makes transfers during the five-year look back period to a disabled child, or to a trust for that child’s benefit. Therefore, NJ Medicaid benefits for long-term care cannot be denied to the mother if she transfers the asset to her son. My answer assumes that mom is medically qualified for benefits. My answer also assured that mother is competent to make the transfer. If she is not, her agent under her durable power of attorney (assuming she has one) will have to do it, provided that her power of attorney authorizes it. I would have to examine the document to be sure about that.
There’s another issue not mentioned that needs to be considered: Whether the brother will be negatively affected by the transfer. Does he receive SSI or SSDI? Is he on Medicaid himself? Does he have creditors that could go after the stock?
All these issues must be discussed in detail to arrive at the right solution.
To discuss your NJ Special Needs Trust & N.J. Medicaid matter, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please ask us about our video conferencing consultations if you are unable to come to our office.