There are five criteria an individual must satisfy in order to qualify for New Jersey long term care Medicaid for seniors (known as Medicaid Managed Long Term Services and Supports). First, the applicant must be a United States Citizen or an Eligible Alien. An Eligible Alien is an individual who has lived in the US for at least five years as a permanent resident.

Second, only New Jersey residents are eligible to collect Medicaid in New Jersey. New Jersey statute defines a resident as any person who is living in NJ voluntarily and not for a temporary purpose, with no present intention of leaving. This is easily satisfied when an individual relocates to a facility or a private residence and files for benefits in that county.

Third, by definition the applicant must be over age 65. However, New Jersey will allow one under the age of 65 to receive Medicaid if she meets the criteria to be deemed disabled under the Social Security Disability laws.

Fourth, the applicant must be within the State’s financial eligibility criteria for both income and assets. This depends on certain criteria, including whether the individual is single or married.

Fifth, the applicant must be “disabled” under New Jersey Medicaid standards. It must be determined that the applicant requires long term institutional level of care. An applicant is considered medically eligible if she needs assistance with at least three activities of daily living. Activities of daily living include toileting, transferring, bathing, dressing, and walking, and eating. Mental deficiencies also satisfy this requirement if the applicant’s mental condition places his or her health or safety at risk.

In the last few years a number of Medicaid application service businesses have appeared. While it may be tempting to employ a service to aid you in applying for Medicaid, families are most often better served using an elder law attorney to guide them in this important and complicated process. Not only is the application process fraught with pitfalls, but there are also many legal strategies that can make the process easier and save the family tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Only attorneys are licensed to counsel applicants on these legal strategies – many of which are unknown and beyond the expertise of Medicaid service providers.

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