By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold, NJ Medicaid Attorney

One of our clients who is applying for Medicaid benefits was recently asked to provide credit reports to the Board of Social Services.  This was certainly an unusual request, given that we usually provide statements from whatever financial institution the client has an account with to the Board.  We also knew that it would present a hardship for our client to try and obtain these credit reports.  So the question we were presented is what documents and information is a County Board of Social Services entitled to receive under the regulations?

It turns out that they are somewhat limited in what they can demand.  While N.J.A.C. 10:71-4.1 (d) (3) does give the Board the responsibility of verifying “the equity value of resources through appropriate and credible sources,” it does not provide guidance as to where the Board should go in order to verify the value of a potential resource.  When it comes to “cash, savings or checking accounts, time or demand deposits, stocks, bonds, notes receivable or any other financial instrument or interest,” the Board verifies these accounts “through contact with financial institutions, such as banks, credit unions, brokerage firms and savings and loan associations.”  N.J.A.C. 10:71-4.2 (b) (3).  The regulations make clear that verification needs to be done with the holder of the money directly.  While it doesn’t say credit reports cannot be used to verify the value of resources, the regulations do state that the Board should verify the value from the source of the money directly.

We communicated with the case worker assigned to this case that the credit report request was burdensome and asked him why he needed the credit reports when we can send statements.  He told us about two accounts our client had that the Board needed to verify, and we were able to instantly provide the statements from the bank for those accounts.  Bottom line here is to make sure that you give the Board the statements for your various money accounts, since they are entitled to receive those under the law, but feel free to question the Board if they are looking for information beyond those statements.

To discuss your NJ Medicaid matter, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at fniemann@hnlawfirm.com.  Please ask us about our video conferencing consultations if you are unable to come to our office.