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Medicaid – You Can’t Turn Back the Clock

A very important concept to understand is that when we apply for Medicaid, as of that pick up date – the date we want Medicaid to start paying the nursing home – all transactions are written in stone.  We can’t change them.  What do I mean by that?

Let’s say, for example,  that you are looking for a Medicaid pick up date (beginning date) of January 1, and you tell your New Jersey Medicaid caseworker you have less than $2000 on December 31.  Keep in mind that she won’t take your word for it.  The state will go through your records, ones you have provided and others that you haven’t.  If, during that process, which can take months, the State discovers that you had more assets that put you over the $2000 limit then you will not be eligible until that money is spent down.  That’s not hard to do when you consider that most applications are filed, not by the aging senior but, rather, by a family member who typically is discovering this financial information for the first time.

If the State Medicaid caseworker finds an undisclosed account in April, even if that additional money is spent down to $2000 by April 30, you cannot get Medicaid for January, February, March or April.  Not now, not ever.  That can never be corrected.  At best, youcan get Medicaid to start in May.  And this concept is not limited to simply finding additional assets.  If, for any other reason, the State finds that the applicant is not yet eligible, and they don’t discover it until 4 or 6 months after the application is first filed you cannot get Medicaid until that problem is “fixed”, but, again, Medicaid will not go back to your original pick up date.

Knowing this reality, when we take on a client it is imperative, as elder law attorneys, that we do everything necessary to be sure that there isn’t anything that will cause the state to disqualify our clients before the application is filed.

For more information, email us at and type in  “Consumer’s Guide to New Jersey Medicaid” and we’ll email you our Consumer’s Guide in pdf format.