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Gov. Christie and Veterans Imperfect Together

New Jersey Cannot Count Veteran’s Pension Benefits
as Countable Income for Medicaid Eligibility

Yesterday, June 3, 2014, the Federal District Court (Newark), in an opinion by United States District Judge Robert B. Kugler ruled that New Jersey may no longer count Veteran’s Pension income as countable income for purposes of determining eligibility for Global Options Home Based/Assisted Living Medicaid and by extension nursing home benefits.  The ruling is one of national significance in that it clearly prohibits the State and its County agencies from factoring in Veteran’s pension benefits as income for eligibility determination.  

In the ruling New Jersey has been enjoined from factoring into eligibility our client’s pension benefits received through the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs now and in the future.  It should be noted, however, that the Court reserved decision on whether its opinion will be made “retroactive or prospective only”, meaning it has not decided yet whether New Jersey be compelled to approve other applicants previously denied eligibility because of excess income attributed to Veterans Pension Benefits.  These applicants may now be able to sue New Jersey to gain eligibility status and/or other damages resulting from being denied Global Options eligibility in the past.

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