Every year brings change, sometimes small sometimes big. Many of the government benefit programs that we, as elder law attorneys, work with frequently, such as New Jersey’s Medicaid program and the VA Aid and Attendance program, underwent slight changes as the clock turned to 2013. Let’s review them.
Medicaid and VA Aid and Attendance are needs based programs. There are certain income and asset limitations. These numbers typically are tied to the Social Security increases. When Social Security benefits get a cost of living adjustment so do these other programs. In 2013 the increase for Social Security is 1.7%.
Accordingly, New Jersey’s Medicaid income cap for 2013 went from $2094 to $2130. This means that for many of the Medicaid programs, such as assisted living and home based Medicaid, a recipient can have no more than $2130 per month of gross income in order to qualify for those programs.
An applicant must spend down countable assets to less than $2000 in order to qualify. However, in the case of a married couple, the healthy spouse can keep one half of the countable assets up to a certain dollar limit. This year that number is $115,920.
VA rates also have increase in 2013. A single veteran qualifying for Aid and Attendance benefits can now receive a maximum of $1733, an increase of $30 per month. A married veteran who needs care can qualify for as much as $2054 per month of tax free income and the widowed spouse of a veteran can receive up to $1113.
For more information about whether New Jersey’s Medicaid program or VA benefits may be available to you or your loved one contact firstname.lastname@example.org.