Medicaid Laws Change on July 1, 2020

elderly woman putting arm around husband standing among tropical trees

Most nursing homes in New Jersey charge at least $130,000 per year for a basic semi-private room.  Medicaid will help pay for that person’s care but only after their assets and life savings have been depleted.

If a spouse is in a nursing home facility then the couple’s assets as well as income can be protected for the healthier spouse.  The healthier spouse is entitled to support from the institutionalized spouse based upon a complicated formula involving the poverty level for a family of two and certain shelter expenses.  The laws concerning spousal support will change in New Jersey as of July 1, 2020.

Normally a person’s income must be paid to the nursing home facility each month.  Effective July 1, 2020, New Jersey will allow the healthier spouse to acquire spousal support from the institutionalized spouse if the healthier spouse’s income is less than $2,155.00 per month.  The healthier spouse is allowed spousal support based upon the difference between $2,155.00 and his or her monthly income.

In addition to a minimum income of $2,155.00 per month, the healthier spouse is allowed additional support based upon his or her shelter expenses.  Effective July 1, 2020, any shelter expenses, such as rent, mortgage, utilities and property taxes that are in excess of $646.50 per month, will be added to the spousal support.  This is known as the excess shelter allowance.

The recent changes to our Medicaid laws will increase the likelihood that the healthier spouse will receive support from the institutionalized spouse’s income.