When will Medicaid recover funds from this estate?

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Q. Both my parents entered a facility on Medicaid in January 2020. My dad passed two months later. Their home was sold in December 2020. My mom has been in rehab since a fall. When would the estate recovery begin? It’s confusing.
— Trying to understand

A. You’re right, it is confusing.

And we’re sorry to hear about your parents.

Under federal and New Jersey law, the New Jersey Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services (DMAHS) is required to recover funds from the estates of Medicaid recipients who were 55 years of age or older at the time they received Medicaid benefits.

Any property that belonged to the deceased Medicaid recipient at the time of their death is subject to estate recovery, whether such property was owned jointly or individually, said Shirley Whitenack, an estate planning attorney with Schenck, Price, Smith & King in Florham Park.

“Medicaid postpones estate recovery if there is a surviving spouse or a surviving child who is under the age of 21, or is blind or permanently and totally disabled in accordance with the Social Security definition of disability,” she said. “Medicaid has a right to recover from any remaining estate assets when the surviving spouse dies or a child reaches the age of 21.”

Given that your father died in February 2020 with a surviving spouse, Medicaid will postpone estate recovery until your mother dies, she said.

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This story was originally published on May 26, 2021.

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