Nursing Home Negligence and COVID-19

The statistics for elderly and disabled individuals in nursing home facilities is grim.  In the State of New Jersey, at least 53% of those who passed away from COVID-19 were residents of nursing home facilities.

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal is investigating the possible negligence of nursing home facilities in dealing with COVID-19.  The Attorney General announced the investigation after reports of how the nursing homes were treating their residents, the manner in which facilities were disposing of dead residents, the lack of communication and the pure negligence by many facilities.  There was a recent discovery of 17 bodies in a morgue that was set up at a nursing home facility in New Jersey.

There is now an online form for family members to report nursing home misconduct.  The Attorney General is in charge of the online form and will process the request for an investigation into possible misconduct by a nursing home facility.  If you believe there was misconduct by a nursing home facility in New Jersey, then please complete the online form at the following address: https://covid19.nj.gov/forms/ltc

Change in Medicaid Laws: Minimum Amount Increases for Healthier Spouse

When a healthier spouse requires long-term care in a nursing home facility, then that care can quickly deplete the family’s life savings.  Fortunately, there are federal and state laws that prevent the healthier spouse from being impoverished.

When a spouse requires long-term care in a nursing home facility, then the healthier spouse can keep the house, car, personal effects and a portion of the remaining assets.  The portion of the remaining assets that the healthier spouse can keep is known as the Community Spousal Resource Allowance, or CSRA.

In many cases, the healthier spouse can keep one-half of the cash assets as his or her CSRA.  These are assets that the healthier spouse can keep and not use for the other spouse’s long-term care needs in a nursing home.  Federal law sets forth a minimum amount that the healthier spouse can keep.  Last year the minimum amount that the healthier spouse can keep was $25,284.00. 

Effective January 2020, the minimum amount that a healthier spouse can keep as his or her CSRA is $25,728.00.  By way of illustration, assume that the husband and wife own a house, automobile and cash assets of $40,000.00.  The healthier spouse can keep the house, automobile and $25,728.00 of the cash assets.  The balance of the cash assets of $14,272.00 will have to be spent down in order to qualify the institutionalized spouse for Medicaid assistance.