By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann Law Firm, an Ocean County Medicaid Attorney

In order to qualify for Medicaid, an individual must have very limited assets and income that is insufficient to pay for his or her cost of care.

When one member of a married couple seeks to qualify for Medicaid, the law combines the assets of both spouses.  It is irrelevant which member of the couple owns the assets.  Whatever assets the wife owns, the husband owns, and whatever assets the husband owns, the wife owns.

Income is treated differently.  The owner of the income gets to keep the income if the husband enters a nursing home, the wife may also be entitled to keep a portion of her husband’s income if her income is too low.

This income allowance is part of the spousal impoverishment provisions of New Jersey Medicaid.  The law has a provision governing income, which permits the wife to retain a certain amount of the husband’s income once he qualifies for Medicaid.  The law also has a provision that permits the wife to retain a certain amount of the couple’s resources.

The wife can retain all of the non-countable resources, such as the house, a car, and personal effects.  The wife can also retain up to $115,000 in countable resources, such as cash, stocks, bonds, etc.  Anything over the $115,000 maximum must be spent down before the husband can qualify for Medicaid; at least, that’s what the Medicaid Office will tell you.

One technique for preserving extra money for the wife involves the purchase of a Medicaid annuity in her name.  If structured correctly, the annuity takes vulnerable excess assets and converts it into income that belongs to the wife, not the husband.

The annuity gives the wife much more monthly money than New Jersey Medicaid would permit her to keep.
A recent New Jersey federal district court decision reaffirms the use of annuities in this manner.  This is probably the tenth federal court case of which I am aware that affirms this technique.

Contact me personally today to discuss your New Jersey Medicaid eligibility matter.  I am easy to talk to, very approachable and can offer you practical, legal ways to handle your concerns.  You can reach me toll free at (855) 376-5291 or e-mail me at fniemann@hnlawfirm.com